When Klein Collins senior Madison Towery returned to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo (HLSR) just one year after catching a calf in the calf scramble, she knew she wanted to do more than just show it.
Calf scramble winners are encouraged to decorate their show stalls at the HLSR to express themselves. Towery is enlisted in the Delayed Entry Program for the U.S. Marine Corps and has been for almost a year. She decided that her stall decoration was the perfect opportunity to bring some of that “we not me” thinking to NRG with her.
“I’m set to go to boot camp on June 24,” she said, “But that’s not why I decided to decorate my stall display in this way. My whole life I’ve thought that the men and women who serve our country are amazingly brave, so I wanted to set my stall up to show and spread my own support for them.”
Towery enlisted her innovative and creative skills to create a values-driven decoration. In addition to the Marine Corps motto, Semper Fi, being largely displayed in the stall, Towery also gave away toy army men and told passersby to place the plastic figures somewhere that would remind them to think about the men and women serving the country who couldn’t be at the Houston Rodeo.
“My main goal for the stall display was to just help pe ople show their support for our armed forces, but I soon realized it was a lot bigger than that, and really, a lot bigger than me,” she said.
Throughout the week that Towery’s stall display resided in the aisles of NRG, many people stopped to take a look, some to thank her, and others to tell her stories of their own military days. One woman found comfort in Towery’s display as she wept and explained that her husband was currently stationed overseas.
“I thought that it was just a small gesture at first, but hearing how inspiring it ended up being was an honor and really made my heart melt,” she said. “I didn’t expect anything big to come of it, but I’m happy to have made an impact.”
“It’s not just raising animals but learning leadership roles and ways to better yourself for your future,” she said. “The life lessons FFA teaches like determination, responsibility, accountability, and many more are things I will take with me for the rest of my life.”
Danny Reaves, Towery’s Advanced Plant and Soil Science teacher, says that he couldn’t be more proud of her for developing a healthy sense of self over the years.
“She brings our Profile of a Learner to life very enthusiastically and she truly is life ready,” he said. “I’m very proud and wish her the best of luck!”