HITCHCOCK

Dickinson High School agriculture teacher Clay Menotti was talking about his students when a pig came charging through the arena Saturday.

Menotti dodged out of the pig’s path, while opening the door to the pig pen. He then supervised as students and other volunteers corralled the errant swine.

Is this a common sight, a reporter asked.

“A crazy pig?” Menotti asked.”Yeah, definitely.”

The second day of the Galveston County Fair & Rodeo brought an equal share of first-time visitors and rodeo veterans to the fairgrounds at Jack Brooks Park in Hitchcock for the various events, from mutton bustin’ to the livestock show.

“Uh-huh,” Charlotte Posey, 6, of La Marque answered when asked if she had fun in the mutton bustin’ competition.

Posey, who asserted she deserved to finish in first place after holding on for more than 8 seconds, was one of more than 240 participants in the popular rodeo event, said Wade Hunt, chairman of the event.

“Some of the kids just have no idea what they’re about to get into,” said Roland Buchanon, of Hitchcock, another volunteer.

Posey, who got up smiling after falling off her sheep, was a first-time contestant in the event, she said. She was not alone.

Gabriel Herrera, 6, of Galveston, was also participating in his first mutton bustin’ competition after watching his brother fall just out of the gate the year before, said Anthony Herrera, their father.

But elsewhere at the 81st annual fair and rodeo, longtime attendees such as Texas City High School sophomore Kennedy Perez tended to their animals.

Perez, a sophomore, has been participating in different livestock events since she was 8, but decided to try her hand at a new animal this year, she said.

“Chickens are a lot more stressful,” she said, standing in front of three rather large birds. “You need to stay and keep watch over them. And chickens stress out easily.”

Meanwhile, Lauren Maroul, of Dickinson, was back Saturday showing a pig for the third time at the fair, she said.

“I really like their personalities and how sweet they are when you get to know them,” she said, recalling the names of the three she’s raised over the years — Maggie, this year, followed by Ace and Biscuit.

With Ace, she finished first in class, Maroul said.

Maroul won’t find out how Maggie placed until Sunday, she said.

Near the fairground’s front gate, Casey Whatley and Alexis Meyerhoff both campaigned to be named Fair Queen.

But, rather than jostling with each other for votes, the two appeared happy to be hanging out together.

“It’s just a great community,” said Whatley, a freshman at Santa Fe High School. “Everyone knows each other and will have each other’s back.”

Meyerhoff is participating in her last fair, meanwhile, having attended since she was 6, she said.

“It’s bittersweet,” she said.

But while it’s almost time for Meyerhoff to say her goodbyes, she won’t be quitting the rodeo lifestyle for some time. Meyerhoff plans to open a cattle selling and breeding business after graduation, she said.

Matt deGrood: 409-683-5230; matt.degrood@galvnews.com

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