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Bailey Carwile: Feeding America

At 17 years old, Bailey has a decade’s worth of steer competition wins under her silver, engraved belt buckle. She’s earned a nice chunk of change for college and, more importantly, has learned a treasure trove of life lessons about the value of hard work and the meaning of winning vs. losing.

Interviewed by Sara G. Stephens

HFM: You started winning steer competitions at age 7. Do you attribute your success to genes, upbringing, or something unique to you?

BC: My father showed steers when he was younger, and has been raising cattle all his life. He has truly helped me with his knowledge of cattle so as a family we can be successful.

HFM: What do you do with the money you get from winning competitions and selling at auction?

BC: Some of the money goes into my college fund, and some of the money goes toward paying for the supplies and feed to raise our steers.

HFM: Having a steer sell at auction must be a bittersweet experience. How do you work through the personal relationship you’ve established with your animal?

BC: When I was little, it was hard for me to understand the concept of having to give my steer away, but I knew it was part of the show process and also, part of feeding America. It is always hard to let go of a steer that has left a print on your heart, but I just know that it is part of what I do as an agriculturist: feed America.

HFM: Aside from the financial aspects, what value to you place on the life lessons learned while raising steers?

BC: The life lessons I have learned are some of the best characteristics I will take with me throughout my life. Integrity and responsibility are the most important lessons I have learned throughout my journey. The life lessons I have gained are absolutely priceless.

HFM: I’ve read a quote from you, “Maybe you can’t have the great times without the hard times, too.” How did you learn this life lesson?

BC: I’ve been showing [cattle] for 10 years, and over those years I have had many ups and downs. I have had calves stop eating, bloat, and when they got to the show they got the gate. These hard times can be discouraging and bring us down sometimes, but [they] make having a class winner or breed champion that much sweeter.

HFM: How does the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo differ in experience from other competitions?

BC: I love Houston because it is unlike any other show. I think it’s because I feel like it is my home show, and I think the level of competition at Houston is the highest out of the slick show competitions. I love that the champion and reserve steer in every breed has the opportunity to go into NRG Stadium for the Grand Champion Drive. Houston is a very prestigious show.

HFM: In your years of competitions, what have you learned about winning and losing?

BC: I have learned that losing is not the end of the world. Winning isn’t everything. I have learned that when you truly work hard, winning is much sweeter. Losing has taught me to be stronger in my character.

HFM: What plans have your made for your future?

BC: I plan on attending Texas A&M and studying Animal Science.

HFM: I understand you also have a beautiful singing voice. Would you give up your plans for a recording contract?

BC: I would have to think about that opportunity. I love to sing, and I would really enjoy being able to sing for others. I also love steers and love raising cattle, so it might be hard for me to give up my pathway in agriculture.

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