Eat, sleep, show, repeat.
This is the slogan of countless youth across America. So many of us are so enamored with showing livestock and everything it has to offer; from banners and buckles to life lessons learned. But one major component of this lifestyle that everyone seems to overlook is the bond that is created between show teams and their families. The “aha” moment when this realization and feeling of gratefulness sinks in can happen at any time, especially when you’re least expecting it. Maybe it’s apparent at a late-night team dinner after a jackpot, when everyone is exhausted but laughter and smiles still fill the restaurant air. Or maybe it’s those early mornings in the barn at a show when the parents work together to find the nearest Starbucks while the kids work together to get their animals fed. My “aha” moment wasn’t as happy as these scenarios.
In the year of 2017, I had finally grasped the competitive nature of the stock show life. I had been to a few jackpots and countless practices with the same team for the entire year. In that short year we had many wins, losses, mishaps and blessings together, and our final hoorah was during our county fair, the last show of my career. After celebrating countless breed champions together, as well a supreme market lamb title, everything seemed to be going beautifully. But in the middle of my showmanship heat I went from bracing my lamb to laying on the arena floor with a dislocated knee cap. I was expecting a ring assistant, a club leader, or my parents to be the first to rush to my aid. But it was none of the above; it was the girls who I had been showing with for the past year who reached me first. They left their own animals ringside and ran across the arena to make sure I was comfortable as I waited for an ambulance. This is what the stock show life is all about.
Being able to relish in individual successes, but coming together as a team when something goes wrong. It’s been six months since that unfortunate day and my knee will never be the same, but the bond I created with those girls only got stronger.
When will your “aha” moment be? Will it take a life-altering injury for you to truly treasure your stock show family, or have you already come to the realization after reading this post? Whenever your moment may be, I challenge you to do more. Don’t just eat, sleep, show and repeat. Eat, sleep, show, appreciate, and repeat.
“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!