Friday, February 20, 2009

First Photo Story

My first photo story was published this week! It was hard work but well worth it, although I wish the Ranger would have published all my photos...Oh well. The only bad luck I had was that one of my cards was corrupted and I lost half my photos! This is why you should spend the extra dollars for quality.

"PAC students lasso rodeo internships"

Eight student interns from Palo Alto's agriculture and horticulture program will each receive a $1,000 scholarship for helping to run the 60th annual Stock Show and Rodeo at the AT&T Center and Freeman Coliseum.

Working 11 days from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., horticulture and landscape design freshman Anna Vogler and agriculture freshman Brittany Barnes check in horse trailers as they come in from around the country and Canada, identifying the horses using their health certificates, issuing vehicle permits, assigning stalls, and helping owners in any way they can.

"It took me three nights to adjust," said Vogler about the work schedule. "The first two nights were really hard and your brain goes into a fog."

The girls sleep from 7 a.m.-4 p.m., doing their homework while waiting for trailers. "Our teachers know what we are doing out here," said Vogler. Barnes and Vogler said they have not had any conflicts with their school work.

All scholarship money is provided by the San Antonio Livestock Exposition Scholarship Committee, which awarded $8.5 million in scholarships, grants and premiums to interns and student competition winners last year, with a total of $87 million awarded since 1989.

Tony Magaro, chairman of the Scholarship Committee, said the committee's mission is to help encourage and support young students in their interest and pursuit of agriculture careers in college.

All eight of the interns plan on using the scholarship money to earn an associate or bachelor's degree.

Barnes and Vogler said the money hasn't been a major motivation for their work. "I just wanted to help my professor," said Vogler, referring to agriculture Instructor Weldon Riggs, who has arranged the scholarship opportunity for Palo Alto's students since 2000.

"He's helped us out with a lot of stuff along the way," Barnes said.

"It's been a great experience," said Vogler, "just meeting the competitors and seeing the horses."

Vogler and Barnes handed off their schedule to the second duo of interns Feb. 13, training agriculture sophomores Brooke Keller and Atascosa native Karleen Lazalde for their 10-day routine until the rodeo's end Sunday.

"It's hard work, but I'm used to it," said Lazalde, who cares for horses at her family's ranch in Atascosa. "I'm excited."

While young women are checking in horses, the guys can be found emptying trash cans, scrubbing restrooms and spraying horse stalls.

Wildlife management sophomores Jason Brister and Fabien Sanchez helped train agriculture science sophomore Bryan Tejeda and horticulture science freshman Ricardo Lupiean who work the last 10 days of the rodeo.

"It's fun, and the experience is good for you," said Tejeda on his first night, "especially with people you've never met, it teaches you to juggle a bit."

The boys are trained by K.D. Ranch out of Stockdale, the company responsible for cleaning all of the rodeo grounds.

Beginning about 10 p.m., the guys will sometimes clean until 6 a.m., "depending on the amount of stalls we have to clean," Brister said. "One night we had over 200."

All eight of the interns have treated the experience as one they won't soon forget.

"It will probably take me three days to reverse the cycle once this is over," Vogler said.

"I'll sit up in bed and say, 'trailer!' and think, 'Oh wait, I'm at home.'"

Horticulture and landscape design freshman Anna Vogler (from left) and agriculture freshman Brittany Barnes work on homework while waiting for trailers at the rodeo's horse registration office on Tuesday, Feb. 10. Vogler says her family has been very supportive, with her 14 year-old daughter and 12 year-old son helping to do chores.

Wildlife management sophomore Jason Brister opens a trash bag in the wind while cleaning the rodeo grounds at midnight on Tuesday, Feb. 10. Brister will use his scholarship towards transfering to A&M Kingsville and earning his Bachelors in wildlife management.

Agriculture freshman Brittany Barnes (from left) and agriculture sophomores Karleen Lazalde and Brooke Keller chat with Micky Gee of Wichita Falls, Texas, while horticulture and landscape design freshman Anna Vogler has Kyle Hughes from Colorado sign forms for Quarter horses Lycos and Fifth Wheel outside their trailer on Friday, Feb. 13. Hughes and Gee came to the rodeo for their first time to participate in the Texas Steer Wrestling Contest that next day.

Agriculture science sophomore Bryan Tejeda mops the bathroom stall floor at the rodeo on Friday night, Feb. 13. Tejeda had to ring the mop out with his bare hands. "These bathrooms are impossible to clean," he said on his first night of training.

Horticulture science freshman Ricardo Lupiean picks up trash under the bleachers at the rodeo's horse barn #2 on Friday, Feb. 13. "What did I get myself into," jokes Lupien after his second round of bleachers. The back-breaking work will earn him $1000 towards his next semester at Palo Alto and earning his certification in horticulture science.

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