HITCHCOCK — It’s all about hard work, a support family and heart, she said.
The senior and her steer, (this year it’s named Snowflake VI) set a Galveston County Fair and Rodeo record in 2012 when they were awarded grand champion for the third year in a row.
She competed in her final show Tuesday.
On the eve of her last competition Tuesday night, Regan Delesandri imparted some advice gleaned from a decade of showing that began at home with her dad, Richard, and older brother Riley.
They’re both two-time grand champions in steer showing.
“They taught me everything I know about livestock,” she said. “Work hard and believe in yourself. If you put your time and heart into it, you’ll be fine.”
Focused on success
Delesandri, a petite senior member of both Clear Creek FFA and Wildcats 4H, downplays her achievements. She refers to showing as a “competitive hobby” she has pursued since the age of 8.
Maybe what sets Delesandri apart from other participants in the 75th annual Galveston County Fair & Rodeo is her dogged determination to get the most from her hard work and experience in the agriculture industry.
“When I walk in that ring, the only thing I focus on is showing that steer like I’ve never shown it before,” Delesandri said. “Everything else is just gone until that judge picks up the microphone.”
That determination paid off when Snowflake V sold for $21,000 at auction last year.
“It’s not about the money at all,” she said. “But I’m not going to lie, it helps out a lot.”
All in the family
Younger brother Reed, a member of Wildcat 4H, plans to follow in their footsteps. His steer was next to hers in the livestock arena.
Delesandri encouraged other young people to get involved in agriculture to prove to themselves what they can accomplish.
“Kids just need to try (showing),” she said. “If you’re even halfway interested, you should try it because you could end up loving it.”
She remembers what it felt like to be intimidated by a 1-ton steer, but said that feeling didn’t last long.
“Steers are challenging because they’re very large and difficult to train in the proper techniques,” she said. “But that goes away when you get used to the animal.”
Like many other champions in the agriculture industry, it helps that Delesandri has an eye for animals, Fair and Rodeo President Paul Tibaldo said.
“Champions know how to pick their animals,” he said. “They can see it as a baby and project what it’ll be like at fair time.”
Tibaldo said Delesandri wasn’t alone when she credited her family for helping to hone her craft.
“It’s a lot of hard work and family time together,” he said. “You’ve got to take the time to go with the family and drive to ranches and scout out your animal.
“Kids are apt to do a better job if they walked out to the pasture and picked it out themselves. A lot of kids are like that out here. They know what they’re doing.”
While coming from a family with livestock experience helps, but is not a prerequisite for success, Tibaldo said.
“I have a lot of respect for kids whose parents don’t push them hard but who take it upon themselves to get to the barn somehow because they found something about rodeo they like,” he said. “They find a way even when the odds are against them.”
Taking the reigns
Delesandri is considering studying animal science at Sam Houston State University next year and plans to one day return to the Clear Creek school district as an agriculture teacher.
The county fair and rodeo gives students a broad range of agricultural knowledge they will take with them wherever they go, Tibaldo said.
“Not all of them will go on to be ag teachers,” he said. “But they’ll be good survivors.”
Contact reporter Whitney Hodgin at 409-683-5236 or firstname.lastname@example.org.