Hudson High senior participates in his last Angelina County Fair

Hudson Senior Riley Jenkins with two steers, a heifer, and his dog Berkely. Riley will exhibit...
Hudson Senior Riley Jenkins with two steers, a heifer, and his dog Berkely. Riley will exhibit a steer and a heifer at the Angelina County Youth Fair on March 20-25.(Cary Sims)
Published: Mar. 3, 2023 at 3:57 PM CST
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LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - Friday evening at the Angelina County Fair is the market steer show. Riley Jenkins, a Senior at Hudson High, is the son of Codie and Kody Jenkins. Riley’s mother grew up competing in the Angelina County Fair. His father competed in the Montgomery County Fair.

Riley will be exhibiting his last steer in the Angelina County Fair as he gets ready to graduate at the end of this school year. He says his interest in participating in the fair developed as he grew up watching his older brothers in 4-H and in the county fair. “They showed goats and cattle, and even before I was old enough to show steers, I wanted to do the project.” He continues, “After only the first few years, I saw what the county fair had to offer in terms of the life lessons I could learn, and knew that this organization was something I could benefit from and excel in.”

He said he picked the market steer project because he grew up watching his older brothers raise cattle. Riley states, “After being in the barn with cattle for a few years, I quickly realized that that was where my passion lies. I have since dug deeper into the beef industry learning more about what it takes to produce & raise a quality market steer.”

In addition to showing a steer, Riley has been competing in other areas as well. He explains, “I started showing goats in 4th grade and continued up through 8th grade. I also started to show beef heifers, and recently I started showing commercial heifers.”

Along with his livestock projects, Riley has also taken the leadership role of being an ambassador for multiple projects. The Angelina County Fair Ambassador program strives to provide high school aged fair participants the opportunity to develop and practice advanced leadership skills and become an advocate for their county fair division and agriculture.

This year Riley was recognized as an Executive Ambassador for the County Fair. This is a higher level of influence as he serves as a leader to those students who have been asked to lead! Riley notes, “I love helping other students grow into leaders just like many did for me years ago.”

His father Codie Jenkins says he wanted Riley to participate in the Fair to learn responsibility in caring for and managing something that depends on him for its own growth. Codie states several reasons, “To gain knowledge in the agricultural industry. To grow in working with, communicating with, and leading others. To work hard so that success is not built on a prize at the end, rather the path traveled so that when the task is finished, he can say ‘I did my best and I’m thankful for the opportunity.’” He concludes, “Finally, to grow in knowledge and wisdom and become a mentor to those around him.”

Sponsored by Southside Bank, the Market Steer division has 42 steers entered. After all the steers are weighed in on Wednesday evening, March 22, the superintendent will break the steers into classes based upon weight. Only 30 of the 42 entered will make the sale.

Riley says the hardest part is the end. Riley explains, “It is a week of no sleep and pure exhaustion, but all of that is very rewarding. The end of the week is the hardest part since I have to say goodbye to my animals and the friends I have made throughout the week. This marks the end of a long year that I have worked so hard for. Sadly, being a senior means that I don’t get to start over the next year so the end of the fair at this time will be the hardest yet.”

His dad says he want his son Riley to “Gain knowledge and appreciation for the contributions the agricultural industry makes to society as well as confidence based on knowledge and hard work, and leadership based on service to others.”

“This year’s goal is just like any other year,” Riley says, “I wish to be successful, but I still need to remember who I am is not determined if I win or lose in the ring, it’s what I have put into the project to get to the ring. I also hope to educate someone about something in the agriculture industry. My final goal is to lift someone up and help them to be successful in whatever they do. One big thing the county fair does is bring the youth of Angelina County together and allow them to build each other up, celebrate each other’s accomplishments and I wish to accomplish that.”

He continues, “Although being in the show ring is a huge part of my life, my favorite part of being in the county fair are the friendships that I make along the way. I met some of my lifelong friends through this fair. I also enjoy being able to help other exhibitors succeed and accomplish their goals.”

His dad’s words of advice for other parents considering getting their kids to participate in the fair are “Encourage their interest. Work together. It provides many years of growing closer to your children.” For more information about this year’s Fair, go to


Cary Sims is the County Extension Agent for agriculture and natural resources for Angelina County. His email address is