Wildcat of the Week: Kaylee King

Freshman possesses talent in field of livestock showing

Freshman+Kaylee+King+poses+with+one+of+her+goats+at+the+2020+Johnson+County+Fair.+King+was+the+champion+for+the+breeding+doe+category+at+the+competition.

Wildcat Photo

Freshman Kaylee King poses with one of her goats at the 2020 Johnson County Fair. King was the champion for the breeding doe category at the competition.

Ella Fixsen, Editor in Chief

While many students have picked up new hobbies during the coronavirus pandemic, freshman Kaylee King has stayed loyal to her lifelong passion of showing livestock, which she has been able to continue amidst this time of uncertainty. 

King grew up around family members who loved to show livestock, fueling her interest in the activity. 

“My aunt and my mom, when they were little, showed.” King said. “When I turned 6, I had older friends that let me hold the goats and walk them around the arena before they actually got to show them.”

Since then, King has competed with her animals for around eight years.

Livestock showing, something that is unfamiliar to many De Soto High School students, is fairly regular for King. In fact, she follows a consistent preparation method before each show.

“I basically take sheep and goats to shows. I’ll get them ready, wash them and clip them two days before the show,” King said. “When it’s show time, we’ll take them to the show, and whenever it’s time for me to go with my show class, the judges look at which animal looks the best.”

The judges not only look at an animal’s overall appearance, but particular aspects of its figure. 

“Judges look for how much muscle an animal has and as a showman, it is my job to set them up for the judge,” King said.

King obtains her animals early each year and begins showing them in spring months. 

“I get them around February and March when they are little babies, then we let them grow for a little bit. Then, when they’re able to be shown, we practice with them,” King said. “Show season starts in April and ends in October at the American Royal.”

King currently houses eight sheep and six goats in her barn. Although King loves all her animals equally, she has favorites based on personality. 

“My favorite animal to show is a goat because they have a personality and are the sweetest,” King said. 

King has extensive experience showing her animals. She has traveled all across the state to showcase her talents. 

“I have taken my livestock to exhibit at almost every county in Kansas,” King said. “I have shown at the Denver National Stock Show, Kansas State Fair, Kansas Junior Livestock Show and the American Royal.”

King also has numerous honors and awards that compliment her attendance at various competitive events. 

“I won my first buckle for showmanship when I was 7 years old,” King said. “Some of my personal achievements are Grand Champion Showman, Round Robin Champion where I show beef, sheep, swine and goats, Champion Breeding Doe  and more at the Johnson County Fair.”

Alongside preparing the animals for showing, King contributes a lot of effort into their everyday care. 

“I try to work everyday at bracing and showing my livestock. I feed in the morning before school and in the evening,” King said.

King has also gained experience about other livestock-related topics from her showing hobby. 

“I have gained a lot of education about livestock, like feed management and giving vaccinations,” King said.

Although King enjoys her hobby as a whole, there are some aspects that stand out most to her. 

“My favorite part is the friends and families I have met,” King said. “I also like just being around the animals in general.”

While this activity is something that King may not be able to continue later in her life, she hopes to make the most of her upcoming years in competition. 

“It will be ending soon because of my age. There’s intermediate, senior, and junior categories,” King said. “I’m in the intermediate, and I’m going to be a senior next year. I plan on doing it until I turn 18.”