Kolton Ross Neuse

 “Success is no accident.  It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.” This quote by Pele is one of the most remarkable things I have kept in my head.  I am reminded constantly that things aren’t (or shouldn’t be) handed to you on a silver platter.

Hello, my name is Kolton Ross Neuse and I live in New Braunfels, Texas.  My parents are Keith and Pam Neuse and I have a younger brother, Karson.  I am a senior at New Braunfels High School and will be attending Texas A&M in College Station, Texas in July. My father has shown and/or been involved with livestock for 31 years, and my mother showed in 4-H for 10 years as well. So I guess you could say that showing was always in my blood. I was practically raised in a barn.  My dad would take me everywhere with him when I was little.  We were together so much, including me sitting in my car seat in the barn while my dad was building our barn.

I started  showing “Pee-Wee” when I was 6 years old. My first show ever, I won the “Pee-Wee Showmanship” and received a buckle. From that moment on, I have been hooked on showing lambs and goats. It wasn’t until I turned 8 years old that I was allowed to show at the Texas majors.  The first major livestock show that I ever exhibited was the San Antonio Livestock Show. I still distinctively remember the lamb I showed. His name was “Buddy” and I placed 4th! That year, I also showed at Houston and Austin and put both lambs on the “death truck”.

Whenever I walked out of the ring at Austin that first year, my dad said I looked very sad. My father’s advice to me was, “Remember little man - two things that everyone will remember about you: your patience when you have nothing and your attitude when you have everything.” This quote has been imprinted in my head ever since that day.

My first major livestock show win was at the Austin Livestock Show and Rodeo in 2012.  My lamb weighed 142 pounds and was in Class 2 out of 9.  I won my class, but because my lamb was so far down in the classes, we thought I didn’t have a chance.  The breed drive came around and the judge Clay Weber proved my family and me wrong. I was selected as the Reserve Champion Medium Wool.  A good friend of ours told my mom, “Momma, you better get out of those stands and go get ring side... Your son is about to be Reserve Grand Champion!”  After selecting the Grand Champion, I made a beeline to the “Reserve Spot”.  The judge made a straight line to shake my hand and I don’t even remember looking at him! My father and I were very proud and this was just the start of it all.

The following year, I had the Grand Champion Market Lamb at the San Angelo Livestock Show. I was so elated at winning my first Grand Champion at a major livestock show, that I don’t think I stopped smiling for weeks.

My favorite win of all is definitely winning Grand Champion Market Lamb at the 2015 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.  My number one goal since I started showing was to win Grand Champion at Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.  In 2015, during my sophomore year in high school, I achieved my dream.  My lamb’s name was “Blue Tag” and was by far my favorite lamb.  I spent countless hours, day and night, working “Blue Tag” to perfect him and show him to the best of my ability.  So when show day came and I was selected as Grand Champion Market Lamb, my heart dropped.  The feeling of that moment is indescribable and definitely one of a kind!

There’s a myth among kids that show known as the  “Senior Year Curse”.  I knew going into the show season that I had a very good lamb, but there are always things that are out of a showman’s control. The 2016-2017 show season did nothing but rebuke that myth.  At the start of my senior year in high school, I had the honor of winning the title of Grand Champion Market Lamb at the State Fair of Texas!

Along the path of my show career, I was able to do something that most only dream about.

In 2016, I exhibited the Reserve Grand Champion Market Lamb at the San Antonio Livestock Show and Rodeo.  

Then, in 2017, I was able to pull off a “repeat” and earn the Reserve Grand Champion title again!!

Most people will agree that their county show is often their most stressful show.  It’s a small, hometown crowd and the stakes seem much higher.  I’ve already been so blessed in my show career, and my county shows are no exception. In 2011, I won Reserve Grand Champion Lamb behind a show friend that we had been helping for years.  It was also her senior year.  From 2012 to 2017, I won Grand Champion Market Lamb for 6 consecutive years in a row.  I even had one year,  2016, in which I won Reserve Grand also. That many consecutive Grand Champions had never before happened in Comal County.

In addition to showing lambs, I also showed goats throughout the last five years of my career.  The two most memorable goats that I showed were named “Paint” and “Tank”.  In 2015, I exhibited “Paint” at the Austin Livestock Show.  It was only about the third or fourth time that I had shown a goat. That year, after winning my class, I was awarded Reserve Heavyweight Division Market Goat! 

The following year, I won Champion Light Heavy Weight Division Goat with “Tank”at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and went back in for the Grand Drive! Considering I had been in the Grand Drive at Houston the previous year (and won) with my lamb – the moment was surreal!

Although showing lambs and goats took up most of my time, I was also involved in other school activities through FFA and actually had the rare occasion to enjoy my other hobbies. I didn’t start competing in Wool Judging until my sophomore year in high school after my Ag Teacher, Jordan Leverett, encouraged me to take part.  I guess with all of the time I spent around lambs, it just made sense.  I was the youngest and most inexperienced member of our team and I was definitely afraid I would let my other team members down. I’ve had some success in the Wool Judging arena and have been privileged to have some amazing team members and coaches along the way.  In just our second year to compete together, our team placed 6th at the state wool judging competition, and I was 10th high individual.  In 2016, our team improved to 4th in the state and I was 6th high individual.  Going into my final year to compete, I am the only returning member to our wool judging team as the others have graduated. We are just now heading into contest season.  Fingers crossed that we can have a successful year.

One of my favorite hobbies, since I was about eight years old, is hunting.  I shot my first buck when I was eight and loved the experience of spending more quality time around my dad, harvesting the deer, and seeing the meat brought to our table.  I was raised to never waste food just because you were trying to shoot “a trophy”.  Since then, I’ve been able to go on several other hunts.  I shot the deer pictured below at a ranch owned by one of my sheep showing family friends.  The connections I’ve made through showing livestock have created other opportunities that I never could have imagined.

My sophomore year also presented another unique opportunity.  I was selected from a large group to be a part of the New Braunfels Youth Leadership Program.  Throughout this program, we went on monthly field trips to various parts of the community.  We learned about our local and state programs and government and were given the opportunity to build even more relationships through the connections we made and the people we met.

While my dad was the livestock expert, my mom was my mentor when it came to 4-H.  Through her support and guidance, I’ve been able to teach so many basic care clinics, showmanship clinics and help others from the county level, district level, state level and even at a national level.  During my career in Comal County 4-H, I earned the Bronze, Silver and Gold Star awards.  To be given these awards is just as special as the other accolades that I’ve accumulated throughout the years.

As if all of the aforementioned things were not enough, I also have been blessed to become a part of a special show series.  Since 2012, I have competed in what some would call the toughest jackpot show series in Texas: the Texas Best Show Series.  Over the past five years, my success in TBSS has been unlimited.  In 2012, I earned the Intermediate Medium Wool championship.  The next year, 2013, brought the Intermediate Medium Wool and Intermediate All-Around Champion titles.  In 2014, I was very successful and won the Senior Medium Wool, Senior All-Around, and Supreme Exhibitor titles.  Year 2015, I won Senior Medium Wool, Senior Showmanship, Senior All-Around and Supreme Exhibitor awards! To finish off my show career in TBSS, I chose to focus on two titles and brought them home:  Senior Showmanship and Senior Medium Wool.

In order to be as successful as I have been, it requires complete family dedication and sacrifice. I wouldn’t be where I am today without all of the love and support from my family, friends and livestock “family”. I would like to publicly thank my parents for being the backbone to my success in the ring, the classroom and the community. They’ve taught me just about everything I know about this industry. Additionally, I would like to give a special thank you to the Franklin family (Wade, Clayton and Hudson), the Hummel family (Dale & Holly), and to the rest of my friends who quickly turned to family.  I do not have enough room to thank each and every one of you individually as there have been so many over the years.  Some of our show friends have become our extended family.  Thank y’all for teaching me so many lessons about showing, life and friendship.  You’re all part of a special group that has molded me into what I am today.