A few weeks ago, I was judging a small, local jackpot show. I had just finished sorting a pretty large class and my brain was a little on the fried side. I had finished giving my reasons and the two exhibitors that had first and second came up and shook my hand. Not really a surprise, since multiple exhibitors earlier in the day came up and shook my hand. That seemed to have started a wave of handshakes. Kids throughout the class (mainly those who were in the top end) came and shook my hand. Then I got a little surprise, the young man whose goat I placed last came up and shook my hand. In the past couple years that I’ve judged, I don’t remember ever having the individual from the bottom of the class shake my hand.
When I showed as a junior, especially as I got older, I was usually able to figure out where I would place and most generally wouldn’t be real surprised if I was on the bottom, middle, or top. Sometimes, I would feel a little jilted if my animal was down towards the bottom (who wouldn’t be?) but I tried to take in stride. However, I don’t know that if when I was on the bottom if I could convince myself to go shake the judges hand.
The show industry is one that teaches manners from a young age. They say to always shake the judges hand, congratulate the winners, and be gracious as a winner or loser. It teaches us to be thankful for the day we’re given even if it doesn’t go our way. I still believe that as an industry and as a showman, we can always do better. We need to take that young man’s example and always shake hands.
Jennifer Friend was raised on a small cow/calf and sheep farm in Central West Virginia.
From an early age she caught the “show bug;” when she was two she told her Mom that
she wanted to show a sheep while her Mother was judging a sheep show! Ever since
then, she has been showing sheep locally and at the state level. It wasn’t until she was 8
that she was allowed to show a calf and that heifer’s influence is still found in Jennifer’s
herd. Besides the show bug, Jennifer competed on 4-H and FFA livestock judging teams
and then went on to judge at the collegiate level for West Virginia University. She will be graduating in May
2018 with a BS in Agriculture and Extension Education and Jennifer plans to pursue a career in production