Nazareth, TX resident Thomas Braddock has made the South Plains Fair his home away from home.
"It's a legacy from my dad and my family," he said. "It's just a good thing to do, I like it. Everybody down here is like family. They get together, everybody competes in the shows together and it is a good fair to come to."
It's a tradition that began with his father, and, in 1991, the fair issued Braddock a commemorative plaque for more than 40 years of service.
Now he is passing on the tradition to his kids and he needs all the help he can get.
"You have to catch a heifer, you pick out the one that you think is the best and you go on in and put halters on them, break in the lead. Then you groom them when we come here we wash them and make it look good for the people that come through the South Plains," said Braddock.
The grooming is something Thomas handles himself. He makes sure every cow is perfect before it goes in front of the cynical eye of the judge. But even with that attention to detail success has been mixed.
"It's up and down. I did well through the years and you have bad years but I've been staying steady through the past few years," he said.
Eventually Thomas will retire, but as long as the itch for competing remains, he will keep doing what he loves.
"At least two more years because my daughter, she'll be a senior next year, but I plan on being around to take care of the barn and show in the open show and just to be here with the other exhibitions and help the south plains fair to keep it going."
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