17-year-old Gage Lee woke up on show day to find his truck broken into and damaged in the Wyndham Hotel parking lot.
Gage is in the breeding department at Huntsville High School. He says he’s been a competitor at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo since third grade.
“I used to smash mutton and do all sorts of other things,” Gage said, describing his experience at the rodeo. “Before we had this heifer that we have now we did the calf race twice and now I have two other cows that are registered and everything we breed. Last year I had a bull and I showed him and got money for it, so we used the money to buy the heifer I have now.
Gage has been engaged throughout the year, but it has not been without its challenges. About three years ago, his single mother, Melissa Lee, was kicked in the leg by a heifer that Gage was raising.
A month later, Melisa Lee said she suffered a stroke due to a blood clot from the leg injury.
“It’s been a struggle since the stroke, but we just keep going,” said Melissa Lee, “and we have a lot of great friends who have helped us get to where we are today.”
Around 4:30 a.m. Saturday, Gage walked over to his truck and found that it had been broken into. Gage said the keyhole on his door handle was damaged, wires under the steering wheel were severed and the ignition starter was gone.
Gage said his truck was so damaged it was undriveable. His belongings, including his show jeans and NRG Stadium parking pass, were stolen.
“It was pretty overwhelming,” Gage said.
While trying to get everything together for the show, Melissa Lee said she called the Houston Police Department to report the burglary and vehicle damage. She was on hold for hours, and an officer did not show up at the scene. Eventually, Melissa Lee was able to pull through and was given a claim number.
“It was pretty intense,” said Melissa Lee. “He had to be there to get the heifer ready. And here his truck is gone (damaged) and we have no way of getting there.”
Gage said his uncle could borrow a trailer at short notice and haul the truck back to Lee’s home in Huntsville, where it waited to drive to an auto shop.
“We just wanted everyone to know what happened,” said Melissa Lee. “And what happens in situations like this and letting people know things are happening, but we were concerned that there are good people in the world and we just wanted to help everyone else not get destroyed like us.”
Gage made it to the show and placed fifth in his class.
Gage’s aunt posted about what Gage and Melissa Lee experienced that morning. They received a lot of support from the community.
“It’s a struggle for kids these days and it’s very hard,” said Melissa Lee, “but we have a lot of friends and family who help and support us. That was the greatest blessing we’ve ever had.”
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https://abc13.com/huntsville-truck-damaged-houston-livestock-show-and-rodeo-tourist-crime/11648922/ Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo: A Huntsville teenager’s truck was broken into and damaged in the Wyndham Hotel parking lot on the day of the show