HOUSTON -- There have been many great memories made at this year's Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. But for one special 13-year-old, the trip she made here with her family is what she'll remember most, thanks to the Make-A-Wish foundation.
For Dalaney Vickery, being an honorary pig judge at this year's rodeo is a dream come true. Back in her home state of Indiana, life has been challenging.
"Dalaney was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis at 14 months of age," her mother, Carin Vickery, said.
Dalaney has been in and out of hospitals roughly every six months since she was born.
"At the doctor's office a lot-- unexplained and no weight gain," Carin said.
But that didn't stop her passion or raising pigs for competition.
"Dalaney started showing hogs when she was 4," her father, Bret Vickery, said. "We've been raising hogs since 2001 as a family. We just have a small 20 sow show pig operation."
Dalaney has shown hogs in 11 states now and won quite a few awards during that time. She understands the dedication and hard work these contestants put in, so she wanted to be a honorary judge at this year's rodeo. Thanks to the Make-A-Wish foundation, that dream became reality.
"It means a lot because I'm going to have so many memories," Dalaney said.
And when it comes to judging, she knows what she's looking for.
"You look for meat and muscle in a hog. Or their bone size, or how good they walk. If they're sound on their feet, if they don't chop," she said.
Being here is something the whole family is grateful for.
"This is something she would have wanted to do whether she had Cystic Fibrosis or not. But, the Make-A-Wish program is awesome in that it gives those kids that dream, you know to be able to be a normal kid for just a little bit," Carin said.
And dad couldn't have been more prouder.
"There's a few things in life that you can only do once. This is definitely one of those things," Bret said. "I've had that experience with her, we've had an opportunity to have reserve grand guilt at our state fair. And there's only a few times in my life that those will be ones that I cannot replace in any way shape or form, and this is definitely one of them."
Make-A-Wish gives Indiana girl chance to judge pigs at RodeoHouston