Skee Burkes, a sophomore at Henrietta High School, was the grand champion youth division heeler and the reserve champion header at the Dixie National Stock Show and Quarter Horse Show in Jackson, Miss. Burkes showed his horse, Lenas Wright Shawnee, “Amigo,” to the titles. Burkes’ step-dad, Chris Littlefield, is a horse trainer who routinely competes in horse shows across the nation, offered him the opportunity to enter this show.
“It was a really good experience,” Burkes said. “I practice at home but you never know how it’s going to go in the show ring. I was really proud of Amigo and happy with my roping. I’m usually a better header, but this time I ended up being a stronger heeler.”
Held Feb. 11-17, the Dixie National is the largest Quarter horse show held during a stock show in the nation. The Dixie National Quarter Horse Show is the largest in the South and the third largest quarter horse show in the United States, making it a gathering place for the top horses in the country.
Burkes’ first and second place finishes earned him enough points to qualify him to rope on Amigo at the American Quarter Horse Youth Association World Show in August. Burkes also received a customized trophy jacket, engraved leather gloves, trophy ribbons and other prizes.
Burkes also recently spoke to the Henrietta Kiwanis Club about his Texas 4-H Leadership Conference trip to Washington D.C. in November. Burkes’ state level win in the Range Management category of 4-H record books earned him the opportunity to attend the five-day conference. Burkes expressed his gratitude to the local businesses and individuals that helped sponsor his trip, which featured visits to famous monuments and memorials, as well as a tour of the Capitol Building and Washington Cathedral.
“I saw many things that helped make this country,” Burkes said. “My favorite thing was the Arlington National Cemetery. It was over 300 acres and had over 400,000 graves, including John F. Kennedy’s and Audie Murphy. I also saw General Robert E. Lee’s mansion and his plantation, which the Union confiscated to create the cemetery and to punish Lee for becoming a confederate General.”
Burkes attended the conference with more than 25 teen 4-H leaders from across the state. The 4-Hers were given the honor of laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Burkes lives in Hurnville with his parents, Chris and Dee Ann Littlefield, and family. He is an active member of 4-H, FFA, student council and his high school baseball team.