When I began raising market lambs, I knew absolutely nothing. I would have them for three months, sell them at our small town fair, and gawk at the sight of my paycheck by the end of my project. When I started developing a greater passion for showing livestock, I decided to take lambs to our county fair as well. I ended up winning my showmanship division and I was over the moon! I couldn’t believe that my first time ever showing alongside big time competitors, I was the one that rose to the top. Because this was my first big win, my parents pumped me up. A LOT. And so did the rest of my family.
Once I began raising lambs again the next year, I was “confident” in my abilities in showmanship. “No dad, I don’t need to practice tonight, it’ll be fine.” When I got to our small town fair, I rolled in basically expecting that blue ribbon and a big shiny buckle to be given to me. I got a ribbon alright. But it sure wasn’t blue. Or red. Or even yellow. It was a tiny, participation ribbon. Say what? How could I, the showmanship master, have not even placed?
After that day, I blamed everyone but myself and tossed my ribbon in the garbage. At least, I thought I did. The following year I had the same attitude and when I tried to pull the “it’ll be fine” card on my dad, he pulled that little ribbon that I despised so much out of his glove box. That ribbon has taught me a lot more than I care to admit.
Every kid needs to have their own “participation ribbon”. Whether it be in the show ring, the classroom, or in their every day lives. I like to consider myself a confident person, but since that moment I’ve never mistaken my confidence for cockiness (or at least I’ve tried not to).
“Doing what I love, loving what I do,” is the quote that I base my life upon. Inspired by my grandfather, I strive to be a service-minded individual in both the stock show and agriculture industries. Growing up you could find me in the barns with my lambs and goats, serving as an officer for my FFA chapter, or playing badminton! Though my hometown is in Sonoma County, California I am currently living in Chico, California as I pursue a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Science and a teaching credential in Agriculture Education. I look forward to the next year guest blogging for Weaver Leather Livestock and am so grateful for the opportunity!