Jones College’s Livestock Show Team competing & thriving in 2nd year

ELLISVILLE – As the Jones College Livestock Show Team begins the spring semester, they are returning from Oklahoma City after attending the Cattlemen’s Congress. The team is adding 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place ribbons, after showing their Red Angus heifers on a bigger-than-life stage. According to the Cattlemen’s website, “The Cattlemen’s Congress is an opportunity for breeders across North America to showcase their top genetics and connect with fellow beef producers in a central location, in the heart of cattle country.” Livestock Show Team advisor and JC Agriculture Science instructor, Leanne Kilgore, said she was excited to be able to bring the team to network with some of the nation’s best cattlemen.

“To be a part of this show and place is an incredible accomplishment,” said Kilgore. “These students have been showing animals individually for 10 or 11 years, and to participate and place as a team is an enormous achievement.”

Sadie Morris showing her heifer at Cattlemen’s Congress in Oklahoma City. Picture by Mykenna Nettles

The JC Livestock Show Team also competed at the North American International Livestock Show in Louisville, Kentucky in November. Freshman Sadie Morris of Batesville said even though she’s far from home, Jones College and the team have become like “family” and the experiences her first semester have been very rewarding.

“This semester went great for me! The team works well together, and everyone seems to be enjoying it so far. We have so much fun working the heifers at the barn,” shared Morris. “We had our first show in November in Kentucky. While there, we got to go to Churchill Downs, sightsee, and eat great pizza!”

Returning to campus in December, the eight-member team consisting of Sadie Morris-Batesville; Tucker Woods-Seminary; Graham Gunn-Petal; Grant Goree-Lorena; Chase Boone-Raleigh; Bailey Blakeney-Magee; Collin Culpepper-Ellisville and Mykenna Nettles of Georgia, worked at the Farm Bureau Show in Jackson, for one week before returning to compete.

Chase Boone of Raleigh showing his heifer in Oklahoma City. Picture by Mykenna Nettles

“The students worked the ring and cleaned pens at the Farm Bureau Show and then went back the next week and showed three heifers. We had the Reserve Champion Red Angus Heifer in the Red Angus breed. It was a really good outing for the students because it takes time to learn to work together as a team,” explained Kilgore. “Being on the Livestock Show Team is different from how they grew up showing animals. As a team, they have to learn how to work with their peers at different levels and they have gelled well.”

In February, the team will venture to Houston for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo where they will show three or four of the six heifers the students manage.

“I’m looking forward to going to Houston this semester with the team,” said Morris. “It’s a major show that I haven’t been to, and it will also be a good experience for the team. I’m excited to see what else this semester has to offer!” 

Before they head to Texas, a lot of care and cleaning of the heifers will ensure they are ready for the show. The Team is divided in half with the leader of each team responsible for ensuring the group completes the daily chores. Not only does the team clean, groom, and brush the heifers daily, but they also make sure the pens and barn are clean and maintained, keep a check on the feed inventory, and share pictures and publicity on social media.

“This allows the team leader to develop some leadership skills,” said Kilgore. “I can tell them but at some point, these students have to learn responsibility and build leadership skills. It can be a little frustrating as they work through the process, but If I come and run it for them, they don’t learn any true leadership skills. It’s great seeing them pull together like a family.” 

While freshman Collin Culpepper of Ellisville enjoys being able to be on the Livestock Show Team, he is looking forward to how the experience of working with animals will enhance his career in biology.

Grant Goree showing his heifer in Oklahoma City. Picture by Mykenna Nettles

“Being able to continue working with show cattle provides me the opportunity to continue the application of theory and principles in daily life throughout the show barn. Although I have shown cattle most of my life, the Jones College Livestock Show Team provides the opportunity to further my show career on a collegiate level,” said Culpepper.

Later this spring, the Livestock Show Team will be moving into their new show barn which should make it easier to tend to the animals. Livestock Team members receive a full tuition scholarship for their service and are required to live in the dorms on campus. For more information about the state’s only Livestock Show Team, click the link for application and information at, JC Livestock Show Team, contact Leanne Kilgore by email at or by phone at 601-477-4261, and for more information about the Agribusiness, Agriculture, and Poultry Science at the links, and