'The best set of people' | RodeoHouston livestock show participant grateful for community support after Texas Panhandle wildfires

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After living through the Texas Panhandle wildfires, one student is expressing gratitude for the community whose support helped her get to the Houston Rodeo.

HOUSTON — At the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, the unmistakable “squeal” of pigs will take you straight to where 17-year-old Macie Hansen was preparing to show her crossbreed pig on Thursday.

“You’ve got six months of work lined up in 10 feet and you better not mess it up,” she said. “It sounds really intense, it is, but it’s really fun, I enjoy it.”

Hansen told KHOU 11 she felt the “good” kind of nervous.

It’s a familiar feeling for the high school junior who’s come to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo for years with family. This year, she had her mother, Victoria, and brother, Cinch, by her side — as well as friends who Hansen said feel like family.

“You just miss these people, you want to come see them, they’re the best set of people I’ve been around,” she said.

However, for a moment this year, Hansen almost didn’t make it to Houston.

In late February, wildfires in the Texas Panhandle ripped through Hansen’s family property in Canadian, Texas, burning up the barn where she raised her pigs. Fortunately, the fire stopped before it reached her home nearby.

Shortly after the fire, Hansen spoke to KHOU 11 and explained that she was able to evacuate her show animals the day before the fire reached the property and destroyed the barn.

“You know that’s easily rebuildable, it’s more like the memories we had in the barn, the things that were sentimental in the barn – that’s what we can’t easily get back,” she said.

Despite the tragedy, Hansen said she now feels grateful for the help she received from friends and neighbors who provided supplies and a place to keep her pigs.

“You know just helping out with material things that we need and donating being there emotionally for us,” she said.

With that support, Hansen said she was excited to get back to Houston to participate in the livestock show – and take her mind off of what happened early this year.

“To come here and to see all of the people that I’ve seen every year … just to have some normal things going on is great,” she said. “If I didn’t have them I wouldn’t be here.

After Houston, Macie plans to attend the livestock show at Rodeo Austin, before she gets a new batch of pigs to raise for 2025.

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