If you have friends that are not involved in the stock show lifestyle, these are topics you will constantly find yourself explaining to them.
1. The fact that it is perfectly normal to have best friends that live thousands of miles away from you.
We all have that stock show best friend, that person you get so excited to see. Every time you do see them, it is like the “reunion of all reunions”. We met this person at NAILE or National Western, or at Jr. Nationals and this is “our person”. They just get it. No, you don’t have to see them or talk to them every day, but when you do, look out for hours of fun conversation and catching up.
2. I will cry when I sell my animal.
“Why are you crying? Don’t you get money for your animal?” I don’t think anyone out there shows livestock for the money. The life lessons and character I see that shine through in stock show kids are why we do what we do. So yes, the animal I worked with all summer does get sold, and yes I will absolutely be upset, even though I knew this going into the project.
3. I promise that everyone dresses like this at the shows.
I’ll never forget the first time I went to school in show jeans and square toes. One girl asked me if it was cowgirl day and she missed the memo, so that was slightly embarrassing…but it’s cool. I wore my Anderson Beans with pride. Now everyone wears Rock Rival!
4. When you tell the school secretary that the goats are out and you can leave school early.
No shame. I’ve definitely used that more than once. Unfortunately, it was true every time. My friends from high school have some vivid memories of me leaving school with my sister to help get whichever random animal got out back in… Perks of being from a small town!
5. I drove from Ohio to Iowa and back this weekend.
I always found it funny that some kids in my class couldn’t believe that we traveled to a different state over the weekend and still made it back to school on Monday. Being from a small town, some of my classmates had never even left the state of Ohio. Growing up, I can remember traveling somewhere else on what seemed like a weekly basis.
6. No, I can’t come to the sleepover/party.
This was the worst. When your school friends invited you over, and you could never go (or on the rare occasion that you did go, you would be the last person to get there AND the first person to leave). It’s hard to explain that you have to work with your animal at night when the weather is coolest and be home to feed and water first thing in the morning before it gets to hot.
7. Yes, I am skipping Prom for a Lamb Sale.
Priorities…Sale season is in full swing starting in the end of March, which just so happens to be during Prom season. So I guess that means I won’t be attending! Trust me; I’ll have fun at the sale. Besides, Prom is totally overrated.
8. Going to a Stock Show is a good excuse to miss school.
Hey, tell me that traveling the United States to attend different shows isn’t educational. We learn a lot at those tie outs, and the stuff learned at livestock shows is already applicable to real life. Unlike that ________that I still don’t understand where I will use. There are some lessons that just can’t be taught in a classroom.
9. We would still pick the stock show life.
A lot of my friends used to ask me if it was worth it. Was it worth the long days and short nights? Isn’t it too much responsibility? Wouldn’t you rather just have a summer job? The answer is: It’s worth it. Raising livestock is so rewarding. You see the results of hard work and dedication. So I miss out on a party, or I don’t get to go to the football game… Big deal. I get to spend time in an industry I love with people I love even more. I don’t regret a second spent in the barn.