Showing animals by faith, not sight

SAN ANTONIO – Thousands of teenagers are in San Antonio from across the state to show off the animals they have raised and cared for over the last year.

Josh Hass is one of the young men showing off a heifer. But he's doing it by faith not by sight.

Hass is blind. He was injured in an accident before he started the 8th grade in his home town of Alba Golden, in Northeast Texas.

But that did not deter him from his dream of being a part of FFA and showing animals. It just added another goal.

"To show that everybody can have a part in FFA, no matter what your disability," Hass said.

"Just the grace God's given him to keep moving forward, we are always humbled by the way God is using him to inspire others," said Paula Hass, Josh's mom.

Josh is not only an inspiration but also a winner. Among his awards is the Showmanship award he won last year at the stock show and rodeo in Ft. Worth.

This year he has a new heifer named Matty and Josh has his hands full.

"She is a little more active, a little more jumpy," Hass said.

But a little attitude is not going to slow him down, he said.

"We push the envelope. We're not scared and he's not scared," said Robert Reynolds, Josh's agriculture teacher.

Josh does have a team that helps him out. His best friend since childhood Carter Lennon, who also shows and takes time out to give Josh a hand with his calf. Since they have known each other practically all their livesn Carter says not a lot has changed since the accident.

"I pretty much knew everything about him already so him being blind, you just kind of adapt," Lennon said.

Inside the arena, Josh gets help from another friend. GraceAnn Mullins has been showing animals for several years so she helps lead him and the calf around inside the show arena.

"I try to let him do most of it, but every now and then, I have to get to where I do it. But he normally does most of it," Mullins said.

Part of the game plan in the arena is a number system. Mullins will call out a number that coincides with one of the calf legs to straighten it up if need be.

It seems to work pretty well. Hass, with the help of Mullins, finished 10th out of 20 in his class.

Reynolds called that a good day.

"You have to have a lot of trust in your team," Hass said.

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