After having a little time this evening to reflect on our weekend, and quite honestly our show season this year, I am seeing changes in so many areas.
Chris, our 22-year-old son, went to southeast Kansas to help Dexter, an 11-year-old customer, at 3 shows this weekend. We got to know Dexter’s family via social media and are so glad we did. Last fall Dexter, his dad, Randy, and his mom, Nicole, came to our place to check out the show heifer we had for sale. She was already a pretty spoiled little heifer and Dexter decided she was for him. Chris wanted to fit her at a few shows but the distance was seeming to prevent this. When Nicole told us there were 3 shows in 2 days, Chris quickly made plans for a weekend in Kansas. Something you should know about our boys is that they are very good with kids. They seem to collect siblings from the show world. And Chris collected 2 more little brothers this weekend……Dexter and his little brother, Maddix. Nicole sent me a message saying how good Chris was with the boys. While Chris doesn’t have a girlfriend, I’m quite certain that this is how he will find the woman God has in store for him. She’ll see him working with a kid at a show and know. I’ve had a couple of people tell me they’re surprised that he enjoys it so much. I find that surprising because Chris takes after his Dad.
Saturday, we went to two shows at one location in one day. It was a very busy day with Mike and Jesse fitting 3 calves and Jesse showing throughout both shows. On Saturday there were two rings. The first ring was very fast while the second was running about normal speed. Our heifers were in class 5 and class 28. That usually gives plenty of fitting time but not Saturday. Mike and I had cleaned the heifer up and Mike and pulled her legs when we got a call that the first ring was already on class 20! Mike quickly pulled her tailhead and the decision was made to not paint her and send her on to the ring as is. If you know our family, you know it’s not how we like to do things. We are quite picky about how the calves look when going to the show. And here we were showing a half fit heifer. Jesse kept his cool, showed her then took her back to finish fitting her before the second ring. Their efforts were rewarded in the 2nd ring by being named 3rd and 5th overall champion heifers. I LOVE watching the guys fit cattle. Every hair in place, every positive accentuated. Jesse is a lot like his Dad.
Saturday was also the first show for a steer we sold to some friends. He was going to be their “county fair” steer when another friend asked about him. The guys clipped him out a couple of weeks ago and now he’s running the show circuit. Mike told Ronnie that if they got in the top 5 overall steers we’d come to the show on Sunday and fit him. He ended up being 4th and 5th in the rings on Saturday, so our Sunday plans were changed. Madeline and her brother, Trey, grew up showing with our boys and this is Madeline’s last year. I’m glad for the friendships made through showing.
Saturday in one of the rings, the judge was another young man we’ve gotten to know through showing. I enjoyed listening to his reasons and watching the kind of animals he was picking. He is a “real world cowman”. By that I mean that he was looking for heifers that will go out and make good mommas – not just a pretty picture the day of the show.
Sunday we went to the show and left the heifers at home. They were tired, we were tired and just didn’t think it’d be the best thing to do. We just went to fit the steer. And we were glad we made that decision once we got to the show. We know the young woman who judged the show very well and it could’ve been interpreted as a bias if she had used our heifers. I’m glad we didn’t put her or ourselves in that position. Megan grew up with our boys. She went to the same Christian school that our boys started out at and was in Chris’s class. They were in 4-H together and the judging team for years was Chris, Jesse, Megan and Tara. They showed together, judged together, did Vet Science together…..grew up and developed together. It was so good to watch Megan judge, listen to her reasons and realize just how much of an influence Mike had on her. He was her Beef leader in 4-H for 10 years and she felt he knew EVERYTHING! He served as her mentor. And that is what brought the weekend full circle.
When you are the older showmen, you have to remember that there are showmen who are just starting out and are looking for mentors. They watch everything you do and listen to everything you say. They start mimicking your actions, your mannerisms, your attitudes. I know it’s a lot to expect, but those young showmen need high quality, ethical older showmen to show them, teach them and mentor them. Someone was once there for you. Someone helped you to learn right from wrong. Someone taught you the little tricks. Someone gave you encouragement just when you felt like giving up. Someone was there for you. And now, it’s time for you to be someone to another young showman.