Paxton Peacock, 15, is one talented teenager.
At the age of 11, Paxton got into gymnastics, but as his skill progressed, so did his time commitment.
“I wanted to get a little deeper with gymnastics, but you needed to be on a guy’s team to even do anything. And the closest guys team was either in Montgomery or Panama City so we decided to go to Panama City,” explained Paxton.
“Yea we did that three times a week we left right after school as soon as he would get into the parking lot we would drive down there and we would stay like we go on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and then Friday night we would spend the night and not come back until Sunday afternoon. He would get in on the weekdays at 10:30 p.m. or 11 p.m. and get up the next morning and go to school,” said Paxton’s mother, Sue Peacock.
The long hours and hard work paid off. Paxton soon found himself on a new level.
“We went to Houston at Cyprus and Tom Meadows was there, he was the coach of the Olympics we went out there and spent the summer out there,” explained Sue. “He trained with Jonathon Horton and Chris Brooks and in fact they left while we were there to go to the Olympics they were still there.”
But the summer of training with Olympians wasn’t all fun and games. It left Paxton with a life changing decision to make.
“They wanted me to stay there, they wanted me to train and I didn't know if I could do that because I would have had to give up a lot. I would have had to move, my family would have to move, id have to be homeschooled, I just couldn't right then,” said Paxton.
The decision was also tough on his family, but they understood.
“It was like a dagger in the heart but you can’t make him do it if his heart isn't in it. It’s just not going to do,” said Sue.
So what’s a potential Olympian to do with all his free time? He went to the next best thing…showing hogs.
“I decided that if I'm not doing gymnastics anymore I might as well go ahead and dive into that and a few months later, I was practicing with them on a daily basis every week. I went to a few camps last summer and I won high overall individual and from there kind of skyrocketed, I liked it, I was doing good in it so I decided to keep going.”
Although he no longer has to commute hours a week, he still finds himself on the road, going to multiple shows a year where he again makes top honors.
“A former Olympian said a quote, gymnasts are usually more successful academically and in anything they try because they fail more than any other athlete to accomplish some of those skills they are so many drops, there are so many falls and trips that they just get up and go back they are used to failure so they just keep going until they achieve the task they are trying to perfect,” explained Paxton’s father Cornel.
And Paxton’s training will stay with him for the rest of his life.
“His aspiration is to go to med school, the unique thing about the gymnastics and the livestock judging and even showing the pigs along the way it is not just go out there and walk around with the pig, you have to learn about that species and he has turned that into scholarship dollars,” added Cornel.
But for now, Paxton is keeping his eye on the prize and continuing to prepare for upcoming hog shows.