If Jettie Funderburgh was asked to choose between showing steers and lambs at livestock shows, she probably couldn’t.
“There are certain aspects (with each) that I enjoy more, but if I was asked to choose I don’t think I could,” said Funderburgh, who took home the Grand Champion title from last year’s Junior Livestock Show of Erath County.
Fortunately, the Stephenville High School junior doesn’t have to make such a decision. She will happily be doing both once again this year in the show, which is set for Jan. 9-12, at the Erath County Livestock Association’s Show Barn. That’s at 2389 FM 205 (Lower Granbury Road).
Funderburgh’s involvement in livestock shows came naturally, growing up on her family’s Erath County ranch east of Stephenville. Her mother, Beverly, was active in showing livestock while attending SHS, and her dad, D.L. Funderburgh, also showed animals as a student in the Dublin school system.
“I’ve really been around livestock my entire life, with my family owning a ranch,” said Funderburgh, who showed the Grand Champion Angus in the 2012 Houston Livestock Show. “My family was always involved with steers. I did show heifers a couple of years.
“When I turned 8 I started doing actual shows. My first year, I showed a goat. That was a good animal to start out with. The past two or three years, I started showing lambs.
“It’s a lot of fun. My favorite part is going to the shows. Getting into the ring and showing off my project is a lot of fun.”
Her enjoyment was magnified two years ago when she had a steer that won the Reserve title, and her brother, Bunker, had the Grand Champion.
“That, for me, was a pretty awesome experience,” Funderburgh said of her brother, who is now attending the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, where he is on the golf team. “It was his senior year, so we were all rooting for him to win. To get the Reserve was truly a blessing as well, and also for my mom and dad because we all worked so hard.”
Parents and family members often pitch in to help youngsters involved in the junior livestock show, promoting a feeling of togetherness not often found in extracurricular activities.
“When I look at it from a high-schooler’s perspective, it’s something I can do with my family,” she said. “I learn responsibility. I’ve learned a lot of life lessons taking care of animals. And I have a bond with my animals.
“Being in stock shows has given me an opportunity to go a lot of places and meet a lot of people. I’ve made a lot of lifelong friends along the way.”
Funderburgh has her hands full — not just with steers, but with other activities such as basketball, Student Council and cheerleading while maintaining her grades as an A Honor Roll student. She has been a second baseman for the SHS softball team the past two seasons. Funderburgh is also the parliamentarian for the Erath County FFA chapter.
She moved up to the varsity basketball team from the SHS junior varsity in time for the playoffs last season. Now she’s in her first full varsity season, as a 5-6 guard. The Honeybees are ranked among the top six Class 4A teams in the state in two separate polls.
The long road for junior livestock show competitors looms ahead as 2019 begins, as she gets set for a long trip to show a lamb in Denver. Of course, she is entered in the lamb and steer division in the big Fort Worth Stock Show. The family also plans to make stock show trips to San Angelo, San Antonio and Houston.
Funderburgh hasn’t fully decided on her college plans, but said she intends to take pre-med classes wherever she goes.
“I’m 100 percent sure I will be some sort of doctor. I’m interested in dermatology,” she said, noting that she’s considering SMU, TCU and Texas A&M.