He is 16, after all.
"It's fun, but it also teaches you character and responsibility," he said.
Last week Woolstenhulme and others paraded their animals through the ring — from pet rabbits to lambs, from poultry to steer — with blue ribbons awarded to the top animals. The showings were the culmination of a summer of work getting their livestock into the best condition possible. Scores from judges were based on showmanship — how the owner controls the animal in the ring; and conformation — how physically healthy the animal is.
There's a lot of hard work and preparation that goes into the showing these animals, but it's all a part of life for these Future Farmers of America and 4-H members.
Said Rachel Marchant, 17, of the South Summit High School FFA chapter, "Growing up on a farm can have its highs and its lows. Driving tractors is pretty fun, but at the same time, waking up at the break of dawn every morning before school to feed the animals isn't so much." But, she added, after all the hard work and dedication, she and her peers have something they can be proud to show to the judges.
According to Woolstenhulme, about three hours before the judging begins, the real work of livestock showing starts. That's when the contestants wash their animal — no matter how large — and even blow-dry them to make the fur as aesthetically pleasing as possible. Some contestants even go so far as to use tape or other adhesives to strap the animal's legs in a fashion that make the bones look bigger and stronger. Yes, that's legal.
It's a fierce but friendly competition that even involves those older than 19 who are normally ineligible to show their animals. The South Summit FFA holds the "Never Too Old to Show" event showing competition where anyone can sign up a friend or relative to be entered into a showing competition. The fee is just $5 to get someone signed up. If that inducted participant wishes to be taken out of the competition, they have to pay $10 fee to get their name out. All donated moneys goes to the high school FFA.
Sierra Charlton and Cheyenne Housel, both 16, said that it's great fun for friends and family to get signed up for a showing competition, especially if they haven't shown since their teenage years.
On Saturday, winning animals were auctioned off. But for most of these 4-H and FFA members, their work isn't done.
After having just compete last week, Paden Woolstenhulme said he went home to get his chores done, "I'm responsible for a lot of things, but it's definitely a rewarding lifestyle."
The FAA students say the attributes of hard work and dedication contribute in a significant way to their performance at school and in the rest of their lives. The skills these young people learn growing up on farms and ranches prepare them to take responsibility in their educational and professional lives.
So while showing can be a great way to, well, show off, it also serves as a good way to learn the skills necessary to thrive in life.