Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Family Affair

The above picture are of myself (orange shirt) and Daughter (pink shirt) at the Missouri State Fair.  For the first time in at least ten years, I was entering the show ring and my daughter was in the same class.  We had a lot of fun teasing each other about whom was going to win.  I must have taught her well, because she beat me!  I do however still say the judge was not really looking at the animals.  The bull she was showing only had one testicle and my bull had two.  So why did she win?  It was that judges opinion on that day.

This year has brought many interesting times in the show ring.  We had one of the best animals we have ever raised in the shoe ring.  One judge said that she was too 'cowy'. Now my thought is how can they be too cowy?  Isn't that we want is heifers that will be good cows?  At another show our three heifers were in the same class and placed in the bottom three holes.  The judge later commented that he would take the bottom three home to his pasture before the top three in the same class.  Wait a minute, if that is the case shouldn't these have placed first if you would take them home?

We have learned through the years to shrug these things off and go on with our lives.  We are in the business of raising cows and if we win in the show ring it is an added bonus for us.  We refuse to get our heifers fat for the show ring because they tend not to bred and/or milk if they get too fat.  We would rather have a calf on the ground next spring.  Most of the animals we show are farm raised so there is another level of pride when they can compete with the bigger breeders animals.

Where am I going with this?  Well, while showing myself, our children and now grandchildren have learned many life lessons.  One is responsibility.  You are responsible for the care and training of your animal(s).  If you do a good job of this care and training, they will perform better in the ring.  Humility is another lesson learned sometimes the hard way.  You must learn to win graciously and loose with dignity.  Life is not fair is another important lesson learned.  There are times that you are placed below animals that you should not be placed below, but that is that judges opinion on that day.  Dreaming big and going for the blue is an important place to start, but one must do the work for this and accept it when they don't win big.

As a parent and grandparent, I would much rather have a blue ribbon child whom has learned this lessons as well as made life long friends than a blue ribbon animal that these children never touched or learned from the experience.  Yes, not winning sometimes really hurts, but it is better for them to learn that in the show ring where the consequences of not winning are minimal than in real life situations where the consequences may be much more dire.

We win some, we lose more, but we do it as a family and spend quality time together.  We have fabulous friends that we have met through this activity and I find that they are generally the ones that are the first to offer support when we need it even though we are miles apart.  Don't misunderstand me, we have many friends that we gained through other parts of our lives that are also quick to lend support.

Thank you to my parents for allowing me to show cattle and for keeping the farm going so that their grandchildren and great-grandchildren may also participate in this activity and learn form it.  Thank you to all that we call friends for all that you do for us.  We are truly Blessed by having all of you in our lives.

Until next time, remember.......Beef, It's What's for Dinner!

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