Pictured left to right:  Rory Die, Cody’s sister whom is homeschooled and a member of Orange County 4-H; Cody LaBry and his heifer, Smith Paul Smiling Times, 2019 National and International Grand Champion Simbrah Female and Cassidy Ashworth, his best friend who is a graduate of Bridge City High School and with Ashworth Cattle.

LaBry excels in show ring 

Cody LaBry, a junior at Orangefield High School, Orangefield, Texas has experienced a very successful run this spring at major shows. LaBry, and his heifer, Smith Paul Smiling Times earned the 2019 Grand Champion Female honor at the 2019 National Simbrah Show, held at the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo and then the duo won the same title at the International Simbrah Show, held in conjunction with the Houston Livestock Show.

In addition, they stood as the 2019 Simbrah-Simmental Superbowl Reserve Grand Champion Simbrah Female. He received a buckle for his class win, $200 for the division win on the way to the overall title that paid $1,000. In the San Antonio and Houston Junior Shows, he stood first in class.

His heifer is a March 15, 2017 daughter of McCrary Smith Inspired and was bred in the Smith Genetics program, Giddings, Texas. LaBry, who has only been showing for three years, will continue to campaign the heifer at upcoming shows this summer.

LaBry’s interest in showing cattle can be attributed to his brother. “I saw my brother doing it and thought I wanted a 1,000-pound pet on a leash.  Then my brother joined the U.S. Army during his junior year in high school and left for boot camp that summer.  My sister and I promised him we would show his cattle while he was gone and we did.  It was a lot of work, but fun.  When he came back my parents bought me my first heifer and her name was Lilly.  I will never forget her.  She had an unusually white tongue,” recalls LaBry.

LaBry’s family is involved in the cattle business, so he always enjoyed the agricultural lifestyle. Like almost everyone in the area, he and his family were affected by Hurricane Harvey.

“We lost the school ag farm, which was where we had all of our show cattle and market animals.  They spent two days in the water. My mom and I took a boat to the ag barn. We started walking the show goats out after hand feeding all of the cattle, because they were all in water.  We turned them out of the barn, but there was water everywhere.  The next day we arranged for big trucks provided by Kelly and Bobby LeBlanc to help to move our animals.  Luckily, we had left our trailer there and were able to rescue animals.  We lost a lot of material things, but no animals. All of this pushed us to hurry and move to my grandparent’s land, where we lived in our RV, because our whole community was devastated.  We worked many hours to get fences back up and put our show cows in the yard in just panels for several months until we could have a barn built.  We had so much support from our family and friends.  The breeder of our show cattle, Smith Genetics had to keep our cattle for a few days right after Harvey, as we had no way of getting feed or hay.  Ashworth Cattle in Bridge City also kept many of the ag barn’s animals for several days.  They kept the pigs in their cattle trailer and found room for the goats and cattle.  Peveto’s Feed Store provided feed to many of our students. Our ag teacher, Mr. Jenkins helped get more feed and spent time hauling hay in to help all of us affected by the loss of the ag barn.  The Cowboy Church in Orange coordinated delivery of round bales of hay.  Our community was destroyed physically, but we all stuck together to get each other through it. 

LaBry is quick to note that having show heifers has taught him time management and made him more responsible. “When you have an animal to care for then you have to be there to feed it and make sure it’s doing okay. You can’t not be there,” he said.

He has been an active member of Orange County 4-H, Orangefield FFA and is an active high school student. He plays football and enjoys powerlifting. He serves as sentinel of his FFA chapter and is on the livestock judging team.

“I never thought showing livestock and being involved in FFA would be so life changing, but it has been.  It has taught me qualities such as hard work and responsibility that I will use all my life.  It has brought my family together more than anything else ever has.  We fight and get mad at each other, but we get over it and are closer than we ever have been.  By the way, working cattle with your family is not always sunshine and roses, but man do I have some stories I will be able to tell my kids.  I have gained a community of friends that I would not have had without this life.  My parents are the only reason that any of this has happened at all.  My dad is right beside me unless he is at work. He works so hard for us for us to be able to have what we have.  He is hard on me, but I know he loves me more than anything in his life and worries about me.  I can never repay him for it, but I am grateful for everything he does. My mom makes sure we have dates of the show, keeps us organized and feeds us.  She also works the farm while going back to college, herself.  She is always in the stands or watching from where she is.  Without their support, I wouldn’t be who I am now.  My brother is my best friend and helps me stay on track in life and advises me with hard decisions.  He reminds me when I am mad at our parents that they are usually right. My breeder, Tim Smith always answers our calls even in the middle of the night when mom is panicking over a calf.  He supports us as new Simbrah breeders,” he explained.

He plans to attend Sam Houston State University, where his brother is also going to attend when he returns from deployment. He is interested in engineering and architectural degrees at this point.

LaBry is enjoying success right now in the show ring, but he finds almost every aspect of being involved with a junior heifer project enjoyable.