Looking from the outside, in: A letter to future and present showman
Just a few weeks ago I attended the Tulsa State Fair no longer as an exhibitor but as just a spectator this time. I walked passed what used be our stall and as I saw a new set of cattle and a new set of people stalled there now, I found myself smiling and remembering all of the memories that I got to experience at this show with my family and friends. It was so nice to be able to walk around and see so many people that I haven’t seen in what seems like forever. I also came to the realization that I had no idea who some of these new exhibitors were and I felt old to say the least.
I got the opportunity to stand ring side and watch most of the heifer show. I thought the judges were doing great and that the cattle, as a whole, looked the best they had ever looked in my time at the Tulsa State fair. I am definitely one of those people that pay attention to the little things at shows and one of my most favorite things in the world is to see the kids faces light up whenever they get the “champion slap” or “congratulatory handshake.” But more importantly, I love seeing them walk out of the ring and going straight to their parents, fitting help or ag teachers and hugging them because you can see how grateful and happy they are to have them. Every time I get to see these moments, I always feel humbled and honored to have been raised in such an industry. But even more so it makes me truly realize that there is no “I” in “show cattle” or for that matter, “show hogs”, “show sheep” or even “show goats.”
I have always been taught that you always try to set the right example and pass on your knowledge to the kids after you, because you had people that did that for you as well. Now, being a former showman I want to give these present and future exhibitors a little advice…
I want you kids to realize something… and that is, if you had to truly do everything by YOURSELF, you most likely wouldn’t be having the success that you are having. It takes your parents spending and investing their money (mostly spending) on your barn, your feed, your animals and on YOU.
How can your parents be spending their money on you whenever its going towards your animals? You ask.
It is because of their money they spend on your animals that gives you the opportunity to show and be involved in the show industry.
To me to the show industry is just the laboratory of life itself. It teaches you so many things that are shaping you right now for the rest of your life and you don’t even know it. You are learning to wake up before the sun and take care of and answer to something much bigger than just yourself, because you know that if you don’t get up and take care of your animals, no one else will. (responsibility). You are learning that if you don’t take care of your animals in the proper way, that you will get bad results and it wont be anyone else fault but your own (accountability). You are learning to be (competitive) by trying to outwork the other showman in your state and even country. But most of all you get the opportunity to learn all of this because of the people in your lives supporting you, day in and day out. Rather it be your parents, ag teachers, fitting help or just a friend, it truly takes a tribe to be raised in and be successful in the show industry.
So, my point is that if you think for a second that you are receiving the success you are by yourself, then you are completely missing what some of what showing is supposed to teach you, and that is being grateful and thankful for the people in your lives that support you everyday. I want each and everyone of you exhibitors, to set back and try to list all of the people that help you with your show animals. Next, I want you to make it a point to thank them for everything they do for you and please! Please! Please! Don’t lose sight of the fact that if it were not for the people in your life spending their money, investing and sacrificing their time on you, you would never even get the opportunity to do what you love every single day.
Be kind, Be grateful, Be humble
With much love,
A Tumbling Tumbleweed