As the 2020 Texas Teen Miss United States Agriculture, Kasey Burns reigning year did not go as expected.
“I did not get to do as much as I would have liked to,” Burns said. “Most of all the events got canceled because of COVID-19.”
Those disappointments included two livestock show/fairs close to her heart.
“I never got to represent at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo or my own fair, Wharton County Youth Fair,” she said.
Burns, however, was able to promote the agriculture industry the first part of 2020, before the coronavirus put a halt to many of the events she would have attended.
“I did do a lot before quarantine. I was able to promote agriculture and do community services for the first half of the year,” she said. “I got to represent at One Day 4-H and call out bingo numbers and visit residents at Garden Villa Nursing home.”
Burns also spoke about the beef industry at the Wharton County Harvest Breakfast held at the El Campo Civic Center. Another engagement allowed her to speak about agriculture and meet a Texas senator.
“I also spoke at the Gulf Coast Regional Cattlemen’s Workshop and Trade Show,” she said. “I also met and got to speak to Lois Kolkhorst about beef. She even mentioned me in her speech. That was so cool.”
Burns had the opportunity to learn more about how cotton is processed at a local gin.
“Another fun outing was touring the cotton gin in Danevang with Mr. (Jimmy) Roppolo,” Burns said. “It was interesting on how fast they can gin cotton.”
Burns represented Texas Ag by riding in two parades, the El Campo and Boling Christmas parades.
“At Boling I got first place vehicle in the parade,” she said.
In addition to speaking engagements, visiting with nursing home residents and touring the cotton gin, Burns decided to cut her hair and donate it.
“Before making masks was the community service project of the year, I donated my hair to Wigs for Kids,” she said.
She also spoke and participated in events outside of Wharton County.
“I crossed county lines to speak at the Colorado County 4-H Club about Miss United States Agriculture, Fashion Show and my chicken Sunny,” she said.
She attended one of the major livestock shows before COVID-19 canceled the others.
“I got to represent Miss United States Agriculture at the San Antonio Livestock Show,” she said.
Her plans for the next major show, the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, fell short, as it was canceled due to the coronavirus.
“My mom is on the (HLS&R) ticket services committee and while she worked I had plans to wear my crown and sash and walk around talking to kids about agriculture. Then I watched on the news that HLSR was canceled.”
After the Houston Show had canceled, others followed suit, and Burns missed even more opportunities.
“There was a day planned in Dallas for all the Texas Miss United States Agriculture queens to meet each other,” she said. “Then I never went back to school. The hardest was when the Wharton County Youth Fair was canceled. I did not participate in the National Pageant in Florida in June. No one from Texas went. Florida was the COVID hot spot and it was not safe.”
To conclude her reign, she would pass it on to the next Texas teen, but that did not happen either.
“I really wanted to be in Killeen, to pass my crown to the 2021 Texas Teen in December but Wharton County COVID numbers were rising and people were discouraged form traveling.”
Instead, she watched the event on social media.
“I was excited when Ansley Kubecka won from Matagorda County,” she said. “I was also happy for Tristan Drury from Fort Bend County winning 2021 Texas Spokes model Miss Untied States Agriculture. I know they will do great representing Texas and Agriculture. I wish them the best and hope COVID does not stop their Agvocating (advocating ag).
Burns, a freshman at El Campo High School, has been involved in several ag-related activities and volunteer efforts over the past few years. She is a freshman at El Campo High School, is an FFA member where she is on the radio team and shows her heifer. She serves as president of the Hillje Louise 4-H Club, reporter for the Wharton County 4-H County Council and serves as a State 4-H Fashion and Interior Design Ambassador. She is also on the Wharton County Youth Fair Junior Fair Board. She participates in the Blue Jeans Go Green project for Wharton County 4-H and at the Wharton County Youth Fair, she enters the Creative Arts projects, shows rabbits and heifers, participates in Family Fun Night events and Special Friends. This year, she will be vying for WCYF Queen. She is a Junior Chamber Ambassador. Other 4-H and FFA activities include Fashion Show, Story Board, Duds to Dazzle, Food Show and Food Challenge, consumer decision making, livestock judging. She enjoys sewing, crafting, participating in 4-H food and fashion shows, canning vegetables and creating ag-mechanic related projects such as welding a piece of metal art out of old tools.
Burns believes agriculture is the backbone of our country and will continue to support it even though her reign as Miss United States Agriculture has come to a close.
“I will continue to promote agriculture because we can’t live without it,” she said. “Without it we can’t eat or have cotton to make clothes.”
Burns also gives credit to Wharton County AgriLife Agents for supporting her and other youth with ag-related actitivies and projects.