Hard work brings stock show success to Schwausch

Left: BHS Senior Brandon Schwausch and his brother, Bryce, have both been showing broilers at the Burnet County Livestock Show for years. The two have won many recognitions and enjoy being a part of their projects. Here, they are both pictured at the 2018 show, in which they and their broilers performed very well.
Right: Schwausch ensures his broilers are fed properly and well taken care of at his home as he prepares them for the 2019 Burnet County Livestock Show, which will continue now through Saturday, Jan. 5







By Savanna Gregg

Staff Writer

Burnet Bulletin

The New Year has made its appearance, and on its heels the 2019 Burnet County Livestock Show. Students from Burnet and surrounding counties have been preparing for this weekend from sun-up to sun-down, and have dedicated their time, hard work, and determination to bring their best stock and Agricultural Mechanics projects to the show.

Burnet High School senior Brandon Schwausch has been showing broilers since sixth grade, and has performed well throughout his Livestock Show career. He even earned Reserve Grand Champion his first year competing.

“My parents have been a huge help this whole time,” Schwausch said. “I couldn't do anything without them, or my ag teachers, especially Mr. (Brandon) Evans. It is amazing to have a teacher like him.”

Schwausch also accredits his performance in his many projects to his other mentors, including Wade Hibler, who assists with his broilers, BHS Chef Mike Erickson, the high school barbecue team's instructor, and his father, Kevin Schwausch, the Burnet County 4-H Shooting Sports instructor.

Schwausch says broilers are judged by two types of judges: industry meat and academia.

“With an academia judge, your pen success is based on matching broilers, not necessarily the size,” Schwausch said. “Industry meat judges look at the consistency in size.

“Everything depends on the judge,” Schwausch added.

Schwausch and his younger brother, Bryce, who has been showing since the third grade, have been working together to ensure each brother has success in their shows.

“Bryce is younger, so he can't do as much, but he has been very helpful,” Schwausch said.

Just this year, along with raising and showing broilers, Schwausch decided to venture into the Agricultural Mechanics side of the Livestock Show, and has been constructing a workbench with his partner and fellow student, Ryan Suitor. Though the project will not be finished for the county show, Schwausch says they plan on entering it into later shows this school year.

The workbench frame, pictured, made with 12-gauge steel, has taken approximately 70 hours to finish, as detail plays a very important part in the construction.

“It was hard to get squared, and took us about three class periods to get that part finished,” Schwausch said.

Once finished, the workbench will have a mesquite top, peg-board backing, and drawers for tool storage.

Schwausch says, like the stock judging, the Ag Mechanics judging points depend completely on the judge, and what that individual is looking for.

“The judges will look at the welds, the construction, whether it is level, and the general quality of the build,” Schwaush said.

A man of many hats, Schwausch also participates in the BHS Barbecue team, The UnderDAWGS, when he is not managing his broilers or perfecting his builds. Schwausch, who is in charge of his team's beans, likened his competing in Barbecue contests to showing, pointing out similarities in the three projects.

“Just like with chickens, we go out there ten times a day and make sure they are fed, watered, and taken care of,” Schwausch said. “When you learn to be meticulous about something like that, you're able to go to anything else and apply it. With the instruction of our mentors, we listen to them and learn how to do something, then turn around and make it.”

“It takes about four hours to make the beans, and you really have to pay attention to detail,” Schwausch said. “At the last competition, I turned my back for only ten minutes, came back to the pot, and my beans had boiled over. I learned that I have to stay by them and make sure they are cooking correctly, stirring every few minutes.”

Schwausch's focus recently earned him the title of Grand Champion Beans at the State of Texas High School BBQ Championship Regional Qualifier; the entire team came home with the gold medal at the end of the competition, and Schwausch praised the other individuals for their successes.

Schwausch is also a member of the Burnet County FFA and a competitive shooter in Burnet County 4-H shooting sports, which requires a different kind of skill.

“It takes lots of practice, and a lot of mental focus,” Schwaush said. “We don't aim, we point; we are shooting a moving target, so we have to point in the general direction of motion if we want to hit our target. It requires a lot of forethought, then reaction.”

As the 2019 Burnet County Livestock Show draws near, Schwausch is excited to see where the event takes him and his peers, and knows every aspect of the stock show requires focus, hard work, much dedication for every participating member and their instructors.

“Chickens are no joke, but I can't imagine raising a steer,” Schwaush said.

Schwausch will soon be attending Texas Tech University, where he will major in Civil Engineering and participate in the ROTC and join the military; he plans to take these skills he has built and the lessons he has taken from his mentors to help him succeed in his career.

“A lot of these aspects will be useful,” Schwausch said. “I have learned to follow through with projects, and have had hands-on experience which will give me practical knowledge of my field.”

For now, Schwausch plans to enjoy his time in the stock show and looks forward to the event, where he and his peers will put their knowledge and skills to work.

“It's so great seeing the community come together to support the youth,” Schwausch said. “Showing and having our accomplishments recognized – you can't falsify that.”
The Burnet County Livestock Show will take place Thursday, Jan. 3, through Saturday, Jan. 5, at the Burnet County Fairgrounds, 1208 Houston Clinton Drive, Burnet.

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