What better way to pay tribute to a man who dedicated more than 20 years to the show than by naming an award after him and giving a belt buckle in his name?
Brien Hickman, a staple at the show, passed away in 2012, and although he was not there in person, he was there in spirit.
Tina Shearman, fellow goat judge with Hickman, said he was instrumental in getting the goat show started in both Beeville and San Antonio.
He spent countless hours helping with the show and helping youngsters with their animals.
When the show board decided to sponsor a buckle in Hickman’s memory, it had to be something that represented and reflected Hickman’s values.
The board settled on a sportsmanship award.
Shearman said some of the criteria for picking a recipient included such things as “willingness to help people over themselves” and “accepting loss with good grace.”
The winner will be chosen not just by one’s actions during the week of the show but by one’s actions year around.
The board chose Joe Cruz Jr. to receive this year’s buckle. It was presented to him by Shearman and Hickman’s daughter, Katie.
“I am very proud and feel honored to have been able to help present an award in remembrance of my dad and his sportsmanship,” Katie said. “I think that Joe Cruz Jr. was the perfect choice for this year’s Brien Hickman Sportsmanship Award, and I know that my dad would agree. I am also very excited that this award and buckle will be presented for many years to come.”
Shearman described Cruz as hard-working.
“He took care of his projects (animals),” she said. “He was very willing to help other kids.”
Cruz, who raises goats, did more at the show than just tend to his own goat. During weigh-in, he helped some of the smaller competitors get their goats into the shoot to be weighed and also helped them carry the stuff needed to pack each pen.
“If he was my child, I would be very proud of him,” Shearman said.
Cruz is a 16-year-old Pettus High School student who has been showing goats since he was in third grade.
When asked how he felt about receiving this year’s buckle, he said, “very honored. I feel grateful for everything, and it means a lot to me.”
Cruz spoke fondly of Hickman and hopes to be the role model to others that Hickman was to him.
“I try to do my best and lead by example,” he said.
He believes in living day by day and trying to do his very best in everything.
Cruz intends to continue showing goats and giving his all in other endeavors, usually involving the school’s agriculture department.
The Brien Hickman Sportsmanship award will be handed out again at next year’s Bee County Junior Livestock Show.
Christina Rowland is the regional editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 119, or at regional@mySouTex.com.