The Real Stars

From the time she was a little girl, 21-year-old Caitlyn Muckensturm adored animals and dreamed of a career in agriculture. “I’m enthralled with animals. I wanted to be a vet,” smiles Caitlyn. “Then I wanted a pet sheep because I thought they’d be fluffy and fun!”

The Texas A&M junior began working toward her goal when she was seven, after her family moved to a farm near Sanger, Texas. Caitlyn and her twin brother Bryan began showing livestock together through the FFA (Future Farmers of America). “We never counted what we did individually,” shares Caitlyn. “We worked together, and it was always a a team win.”

The pair eventually entered the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, competing during their sophomore, junior, and senior years of high school. In 2020, they attained their most significant win, nursing a sickly sheep named Little Bit back to health and landing in the top five. “We didn’t even think he’d survive. We never imagined he’d be a part of a sale at any livestock show, let alone Houston. I’ll never forget my brother’s smile when I got out of the ring. He was grinning from ear to ear!”

Caitlyn’s experiences showing livestock and serving as a student leader with FFA confirmed her desire to major in Agricultural Leadership and Development at Texas A&M University. But finances were a significant challenge.

She applied for – and won – two scholarships through the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. “Without the Houston rodeo, I wouldn’t be here at college. It would be impossible. I’m just in awe of everything they do for students like me.”

The rodeo is one of the largest providers of scholarships in the U.S., awarding more than 20,000 scholarships worth $260 million since 1957. KSBJ serves as a rodeo community partner, helping to raise awareness about the non-profit’s programs benefitting youth and education.

Caitlyn is grateful to everyone who attends the event for helping to fund scholarships and support agriculture. “The people who visit the rodeo are the real stars. Without you, nothing would be possible. My favorite memories are when children ask questions, and their little hands pet your sheep as you walk by.”

Caitlyn says her experiences in and out of the livestock arena have deepened her faith. “It’s been amazing seeing my relationship with God strengthen as I mature. When I get stressed, I read my Bible and spend time with Him. It gives me strength.”

Caitlyn trusts God to guide her steps. She plans to dedicate her life to serving people in agriculture and showing gratitude to everyone who has helped her.

KSBJ is a Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo community partner. The rodeo runs from February 28 – March 19, 2023.

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The Millennial Motivator

Caitlyn at Texas A&M

The Millennial Motivator

Caitlyn and Bryan at high school graduation

The Millennial Motivator

Caitlyn and Bryan showing Little Bit at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo