Cleveland Teen Blows Kisses During Livestock Show, Wins Reserve Champion
CLEVELAND, Oklahoma - A Green Country teenager won a big prize during Oklahoma’s largest youth livestock show, but he also won over a lot of hearts.
Gavin Fuss is a 13-year-old Cleveland boy with Downs Syndrome, won Reserve Grand Champion with his Poland Gilt pig at the Oklahoma Youth Expo on Friday
Those who were there say they’ve never heard such loud cheers.
“They [the crowd] went crazy. People we didn’t know would walk up to us and say congratulations. They were all behind us,” Gavin’s mom, Kathy Fuss said.
Before the second place win, Gavin had already melted hearts in the crowd with his big smile and by blowing kisses to the his family in the stands. That’s his signature move, his mom says.
“I love it, even if it’s not at me. He’s spreading some love everywhere he goes,” said Kathy.
“He would also give thumbs up, he knew he was doing well.”
Gavin won first place in his class with his Poland Gilt named Mercedes. He then went on to win Reserve Grand Champion in that breed. He was up against kids between 9 and 18 years old. His mom says there were about 1,400 Poland Gilts at the show.
“Our goal was to be able to navigate through the process of showing a pig at OYE,” said Kathy.
"But we didn’t set our goal high enough, he walked out and took over the show.”
His dad is an ag teacher, so Gavin’s grown up around animals and showing livestock is his passion. Gavin and his family have never let Down Syndrome hold him back.
“We all have areas that we could consider a disability and he has overcome that with the power of friendship and encouragement from others and the willingness to try,” his mom said.
“And with that combination, he can be anything he wants to be and he just blows me away. He’s one of the greatest blessings of my life.”
Kathy says the win showcased her son’s ability, not his disability. For her they won much more than Reserve Grand Champion in the show ring that day.
“We overcome a lot of fear from a parent’s standpoint and we got to see him shine. And it was a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful moment for us,” Kathy said.
She says it also shined a light that there’s room for everybody at OYE and in agriculture programs, like FFA and 4-H.
“He just had a great time and that’s really what it’s about. Empowering our kids and helping them be all they can be,” Kathy said.
Wednesday afternoon, Gavin will have a chance to sell his prize show pig at auction in Oklahoma City.