Teen Overcomes Illness to Win Big at Stock Show

The Fort Worth Stock Show provided a life-changing moment for a North Texas teen.

After a year of hardships, Rikki Buckalew's steer was named grand champion Friday. On Saturday, that steer sold at a record-breaking number. She may be losing her steer, "War Admiral," but in return, she's walking away with $210,000 in her pocket.

"I still can't believe they just paid me that much for my steer," Buckalew said.

Larry White Jr. bought War Admiral at the auction. He's putting the steer on display at the Fort Worth Zoo.

Before Buckalew could get to this point, she and her family had to overcome some big obstacles.

"This year I was diagnosed with pseudotumor cerebri disease," Buckalew said.

It's a rare brain disease where the brain thinks it has a tumor, so it creates an abnormal amount of spinal fluid.

Rikki’s mother, LeaAnn Buckalew, said they knew something was wrong when Rikki started getting headaches

"At first, it was extremely scary because we didn't know exactly what was going on with her, and it took them a little while to figure it out," she said.

Once doctors had a handle on the disease, the teenager from Graham was able to concentrate on getting her steer ready for show. But she and her family never expected this outcome.

"Today at the auction, I thought my heart was going to stop," father, Mitch Buckalew, said.

Before the auction, he couldn't afford to send his daughter to college, he said. But she'll be able to take care of that now, and then some.

"I mean that's our lives, our kids, for them to do well and get an education. And this is going to go a long way" he said.

As for Rikki Buckalew, the day was nothing short of a dream come true.

"Just for this to happen to me, to be able to pay back any medical stuff I have, to be able to pay for my college, to be able to pay for anything I need to pay for -- that's unreal," she said.

Buckalew plans on going to Texas Christian University in the fall.

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