KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Lillie Raasch and her three brothers grew up in a hybrid family.
She was equal parts city girl and farm girl, raised on a farm just outside Liberty, Mo., northeast of downtown Kansas City. She was active, involved in sports and other community activities along with her dedication to the family farm and the heritage passed along to here.
“My dad grew up on a hog farm about an hour east of Kansas City,” said Raasch, 24, a soon-to-be graduate from the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine. “We had row crops and always had a few animals. I did a little bit of everything on the farm, so I always took care of the animals.”
She will graduate next May, then hopes to return to the Kansas City metro area to practice veterinary medicine. This fall, she’s serving as a vet student intern during the two-and-a-half-month-long American Royal, where she has the opportunity to care for all the animals that are part of the various activities.
“I always knew I wanted to be some kind of doctor,” said Raasch, the daughter of Buddy and Carolyn Raasch. “I was in my first year of undergrad, and I kind of missed the farm and missed the animals.”
That has opened a new door for the 2008 Liberty High School graduate.
“I plan to practice in the Kansas City area, hopefully a mixed animal practice and also help on the family farm,” she said.
Farm life is embedded deep into the roots of everything Lillie Raasch does. She showed animals when she was younger and still has horses she keeps while tending to her studies in Columbia, Mo. Family support is vital, but that is just another excellent piece of holding true agrarian values.
“To be part of the American Royal is a huge honor for me,” said Raasch, who has three brothers: Errie, 33; Bernie, 32; and Charlie, 19. “We’ve been to many American Royal events having grown up in this area. It is such a huge part of Kansas City because it’s one of the things that’s been in Kansas City for so long.
“To be involved with the American Royal is a way for me to be part of the community and to be connected with the community even before I move back and become a vet. The American Royal provides me an educational opportunity for learning how to be part of livestock and keeping the integrity of a livestock show.”
Integrity also is a good word for the work Raasch is doing. She is one of many vet students that are part of the American Royal this fall.
“With our family’s pumpkin patch, I find that people are uneducated about farms, about livestock and about where our food comes from,” she said. “I find the American Royal to be a huge part of our educational process. Younger kids and adults can show their animals and have pride in what they’ve raised and have pride in their jobs.
“For a lot of them, this is their livelihood. They raise for consumption. It’s a great educational opportunity for the public and for Kansas City in general. It’s such a big part of our history.”