I was planning on banging out a new post this morning, but I got distracted by the drafts sitting here just waiting for their turn to become real posts. As the MO Club Calf Association’s show season is gearing up to start again I thought this one might be something to look back on. It was written last August. The State Fair is a busy time for our family but it’s also a time for reflection. So here you go – some thoughts from a cattle show mom on a hot day in August to be read on a cool day in February.
I’m trying to write this post on my iPhone while I’m in the cattle barns at the Missouri State Fair. The laptop is back in the camper and I really prefer to keep it out of the sand blown barns.
Yesterday we showed in the junior Angus and Percentage Simmental shows. We had a day of mixed results and I posted all of the results on Facebook. My oldest said I really didn’t need to post our lousy placing with one heifer. I disagree.
We show a lot. We do well quite frequently. As a matter of fact, Jesse has done well enough that one of those heifers is the MCCA champion Angus and another is the champion percentage Simmi. And then, there are times a judge just doesn’t like what we’ve brought out. It happens to EVERYONE at one time or another. And it’s ok. I posted our lousy placing on Facebook so that people could see we don’t always win and it doesn’t come easy.
Last year we brought a little heifer calf out. She was, and still is a February 14, 2014 calf. I posted a picture of her as our Valentines Day treat! When she went into her class a year ago she looked a lot younger than most of her counterparts and stood last in class. Yesterday, she was the same size as her counterparts and won her class. Funny, isn’t it? Or maybe not. She beat some pretty good heifers. To me it’s a shame cattlemen feel the need to age the calves. When your fall calf champion is bigger and more mature than your summer calf champion, you may have an aging issue. I hear the excuse ringside that EVERYONE does it so to be competitive in the calf class you need to also. Therein lies the problem, not just in the show barn, but in life. Who sets the standards you live by?
Along with honesty, it takes a lot of hard work to even get to a show, much less do well. We have been working with 2 of our big heifers for about 10 months now, the other big for about 14 months and the little heifer for about 6-7 weeks. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times they’ve been washed, blown out, combed on, clipped and fit, led and sticked. And then, there’s feeding and making of feed and hand mixing of feed and researching different nutritional supplements and needs for EACH one. I jokingly (half jokingly is more accurate) told Mike I thought we must be raising show pigs with our unique rations. A scoop of this, a half scoop of that, half a tub of this and a little bit of that. HOLY COW!
So you see, when that Junior Exhibitor walks out of the ring with a ribbon in hand, the color doesn’t matter nearly as much as the lessons learned but on the other hand, the color of the ribbon does indicate some level of work. You can tell the calves who haven’t been worked with or the showmen who haven’t done the work. It amazes me the indignation parent exhibit when Johnny isn’t recognized as the best showman or his calf doesn’t win the show when he’s been “too busy” with other activities to work with his calf. Yes, it’s good to have more than one thing that interests you. No, you’re not likely going to be the best if you split your focus among many things. I have never bought into the theory of putting kids in every activity offered in hopes of having a well rounded person. In my opinion, a well rounded person is one who has a lot of interests but no real passion. We set out to raise men passionate for agriculture – specifically beef cattle. And they are.