The Wessels family – Andrew, Belinda and their children: Derrick, Austin, Paul, Andrew Jr. and Emeri – have found in 4-H animal shows a source of tradition, pride, education and community

“4-H isn’t about showing animals every year,” Andrew Wessels said. “It’s about teaching my children responsibility and the basics of accountability. I want them to understand how to communicate, make eye contact, how to stand properly, to show their manners and to understand the value of hard work and working together as a family… not just with each other, but also with their 4-H group.”

Beginning in 1998 with their first son, the Wessels have used 4-H to help guide their children and create family values that have now passed on to the first generation of their grandchildren. The Wessels have participated in 4-H every year with their daughter, Emeri, being the last of their children.

This year, Emeri will be showing her goat, Mr. Smiley.

“I have shown rabbits, horses, and goats, but I really, really like doing goats every year… my goal is to go to San Antonio this year,” she told the Bee-Picayune.

Emeri also participates in other activities but looks forward to working with her animals every year.

“I have to work with my goat every day and make sure he understands me and I have to walk with him and practice standing with him, for when I go in front of the judges.” Emeri said.

The Wessels’ property sits on seven acres and has a special section for the goats they work with every year.

“When my boys were little, they didn't have what their little sister has today. They had to really work out here with their goats. Over the years we have added new features to the property and it has helped us out tremendously and so her older brothers are definitely jealous now,” Wessels said jokingly.

Wessels has enjoyed his years helping his children participate in 4-H.

“I have always told all of them, if you work hard it will show in the end, but if you don't that will also show and so it was always up to them how bad they wanted it.” Wessels said. “I remember when my boys received their first buckle. It was one of my proudest moments because I knew they had worked hard and I wanted them to know where hard work would take them.”

Kicking off the first day of the livestock show, Emeri also participated in the horse show on Jan 21.

“Emeri practices with her horse at least every few days on a ranch nearby…her hard work paid off and she placed Reserve Champion in the Halter Division.” Wessels said.

The Wessels are ready for this year's livestock show and are preparing to make it to San Antonio.

“San Antonio is a big deal, you get people from bigger livestock shows compared to Beeville that come and compete,” Wessels said. “So the fact that Beeville can place with San Antonio says a lot about our town and our 4-H community.”

Recommended for you