Samantha Islet, from Lexington, Texas, is the definition of a true country girl. On Friday, February 21, 2020, Samantha was named the exhibitor of the Grand Champion Market Barrow at the San Antonio Stock Show. She sold her pig for a record-breaking $157,000 and received a $10,000 scholarship.
Samantha was born with Downs Syndrome, and usually has a helper in the ring when she shows. However, Kevin Thomas, ag teacher, states that Samantha did not need a helper for this show. “She was driving the pig out of corners, transitioning from judge side to off-judge side. The bond and the training she has done with that hog are undeniable. She stumbled and dropped her stick once and the hog still held its head up just like it did when she was touching him. That’s the bond, work ethic and repetition of that animal and [Samantha] that allowed it to perform like no other,” he says.
“I’m so passionate about showing livestock because for (Samantha) to be able to go into the ring and show like that – for 10 minutes she is just like any other kid in the ring.”
Coby Berger (Samantha’s brother) and his father Cliff Berger bred and raised Samantha’s award winning pig. Coby has an unbreakable bond with his sister. He states, “She changed me. We are inseparable and she’s honestly my best friend. She keeps me motivated every day. I’m so passionate about showing livestock because for her to be able to go into the ring and show like that – for 10 minutes she is just like any other kid in the ring.”
However, Coby admits he felt some hesitation about Samantha showing pigs. He states, “At first, I didn’t think Samantha would be able to do it. But one day when she was about 10 years old, I asked her to walk a pig so I could look at it. Showing was just natural for her. She’s been showing ever since.”
More than 3,000 people competed for the title this year. Coby states it was a dream come true to watch his sister Samantha win the title out of all those competing.
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