Athens High School sophomore SkyeLann White has enough drive and ambition for two mere mortals. The Athens FFA member was focused on soccer and barrel racing until about a year ago. It was then that she leased a grey Brahman heifer to show.
“I ended up falling in love with the whole thing and decided to buy her,” said White. The 1,100-pound Brahman answers to the name Babyface. “She is my best friend. I can lay on her, ride her. She’s amazing.” (continue reading below)
Her freshman year, White quit playing sports to focus on cattle. “If you want to be successful,” said the 15-year-old, “you truly do have to put all your time, all of your money and all of your effort into it.”
She and her mother, Casie White, tour year-round, hitting all the Texas majors, sanctioned national shows, Texas and East Texas state fairs, and many jackpots. And, of course, this week she is at the Henderson County Livestock Show, where White will be showing Babyface on Friday — as well as a black Brahman heifer and a Hereford. She has five head of cattle now and plans to add three more to the herd soon.
Most of her livestock (the Hereford is from Botie Hillhouse) comes from Diamond D. Cattle Company in Oklahoma, which sponsors White. In exchange for assistance with travel expenses, she reps their brand and, when her yearlings hit two years old, she sells them and keeps a cut. “I’ve made so many connections.”
“I wish we had more of her,” said ag teacher Hunter Choate of White. “She’s hard working, always willing to do whatever. And she’s got a good attitude.”
White recently designed her own brand — Rockin’ Tophand (a freeze brand that uses liquid nitrogen instead of heat) — and is working to develop supplement and haircare products for cattle.
“Herefords naturally have dingy, wiry, very curly hair,” she explained. “I’m experimenting with products to create one that will get their hair broken (straight) so it’s shiny, dark and well hydrated.”
All that is plenty, but there’s also a waitressing job, barrel racing (“I’m mediocre”), offering online classes on how to clip, and holding almost a 4.0 grade point average.
“This is something I love to do,” she said. “This is what I look forward to when I go to bed.”
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