ON THE FARM: Weaver turns gift of chickens into life project

Originally published in The Ashley News Observer – February 5, 2020

What began as a trio of prize chickens in 2006 has grown into a prize winning farm.

Bold Avenger Farms got its start when Sunni Deb Weaver of Crossett, now 17, received a gift of three chickens from her grandfather, Frankie.

Sunni now has more than 200 birds, 60 head of goats, two cattle and three sheep.

Her mother, Cindy Weaver, said that raising and showing animals started out as Sunni’s hobby, but has now turned into the family business.

Sunni and her animals have won many notable awards and she holds titles in Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi.

In 2019, she won more than 30 Grand and Reserve Championships at the Arkansas spring and fall state fairs. Many of the wins were with homebred animals.

“It’s one thing for someone with a pocket full of money to go out and buy a prize winning animal and show it, it’s another thing to breed them and start a breeding program,” Cindy said.

Sunni has done just that as she strategically matches up animals to create prize-winning stock.

Sunni is a seven-time inductee to the Arkansas Purple Circle Club honoring state championship showmen.

She is also the Vice President to the nation’s first virtual Future Farmer’s of America Academy.

Sunni attends the Arkansas Virtual Academy instead of traditional public school because it allows her to spend time on the road and raising her animals.

“People ask us if she’s homeschooled, but she has classes and teachers and a class schedule; and without this school there is no way she would be able to do this,” Cindy said.

Sunni spends several hours a day tending to her animals and she spends a great deal of time on the road showing off those animals at competitions.

Sunni said her parents not only travel with her, but help her daily on and off the farm.

“It’s definitely a family affair,” Cindy said.

Sunni has to work her farm schedule around her class schedule because even thought it is online school she has specific times she has to sign in for certain classes.

“She has teachers and a schedule and class times just as she would if she went to a traditional facility,” Cindy said.

Sunni was four years old when she started showing chickens and she was six when she talked her parents into expanding to goats.

Sunni’s passion for animals and interest to raise and show them only grew. In 2017 she was able to expand to cattle and in 2019 she was able to add sheep.

Sunni said it was a dream of hers to show sheep and she had begged for sheep for a while.

When she finally did get a sheep she won Supreme Grand Champion as well as several other awards at the Baton Rouge State Fair in Louisiana.

“I think that was really special because it had always been a dream of mine to show sheep,” Sunni said.

Sunni plans to take everything she’s learned with her after she graduates high school next May.

She wants to go to Louisiana State University and she is considering scholarship offers from there as well as a few other colleges.

Cindy said that they spend a lot of time showing in Louisiana and that they have family friends in the area.

Sunni said she wants to study avian science and eventually got to veterinarian school.

As a student at Arkansas Virtual Academy, she will graduate in Little Rock next May.

To learn more about Arkansas Virtual Academy, visit https://arva.k12.com/

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