Texoma Livestock Expo hosts fourth annual "Showing with Heart"

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DENISON, Tex. (KXII) - More than 200 kids from 18 schools in Texoma showed off their pigs, goats and rabbits for the fourth annual "Showing with Heart" livestock show on Wednesday.

"Goat. Greatest of all time, man," said participant Jeremy Bartlett.

"Pig, because I like the pig. I like to walk them," said Hailee Phillips, another participant.

Mati Abner started the event four years ago when she was a senior at Howe High School.

She wanted special needs kids in the area to experience one of her favorite things: livestock shows.

"I had the dream and I wanted it to (make it happen), but I didn't know how to make it possible," said Abner.

With the help of teachers, volunteers, schools, and sponsors, she said this event grows every year.

"But just as the years have gone on, I have gotten buy-in from the different teachers, and as soon as they come, they're hooked and they continue to come back year after year," said Abner.

Whether it is their first time or they have been all four years, the kids look forward to the show.

"I can watch people show the animals," said participant Ariana Woodall.

"Just to see all the competitors and people," said Bartlett.

"All the people who come to volunteer, and the pigs and the goats and all kinds of stuff," said Morgan Rice, another participant.

Abner said she'll always be thankful of the first teachers who believed in her to start this event.

"I just feel like I've grown with the show and matured, and it's made me who I am, so I owe it a lot. At the same time, the teachers putting their trust in me and continuing to come back is just amazing," said Abner.

The kids are just as thankful for Abner.

"She's good for me, she's so sweet to me," said Rice.