When I first started showing pigs at the tender age of 8, I had no idea what to expect. I do know that being 20 years old now, and looking back on the old show photo album that my mom has, showing changed my personality. I use to try to hide behind my animals in the show ring, and get so nervous that my stomach felt like it was going to float away from all of the butterflies. Showing for 10 years though, helped transition my confidence. Instead of hiding behind my animals a few years after that, I was leading those animals. Both me and my steers were in synch stepping and making eye contact with the judge, letting him know I was there and ready to put that buckle on my belt.
Showing all of the breeds of livestock, with steers being my favorite, is an experience that I hope others choose to try. My little brother picked up the show stick as soon as I graduated. He is an extremely shy boy who doesn’t like to talk to you unless he really gets to know you. In the show ring though, he’s known as “the beast.” He tells the judge everything about his pig, and has a sense of pride in doing so. He has gained a whole new level of confidence and is just a fun competitor to watch in the show ring. He puts his heart and soul into it. Some of the FFA kids that I once went to school with told me that my 11-year-old brother was teaching them how to enjoy every second of showing, and reminding them how to put your heart in it. Some of the FFA kids were asking him for advice on showing. He really makes Jay FFA, my family, and definitely myself so proud of him.
Some of the kids my little brother goes to school with, would rather sit behind a video game screen all day. They will never get to experience something that will change their lives for the better. Here is my problem with video games and why we need to get those kids a show animal.
- Video games are not like real life, there is no such thing as three lives. “Robbing a bank and shooting people on games isn’t doing that kid any good. How realistic is that really? Yeah people can do that in real life, but you will go to prison for doing so. I’d rather go outside and spend time with an animal than to be lazy and rob a bank.”
- Some parents complain about how their kids are so selfish, and unappreciative of things. “Having a show animal will teach you how to be selfless. You will learn that the animal needs you more than they need themselves. You will learn to appreciate things better because you will want to give nothing but the best to that animal. You will be so thankful when you receive any help with your animal.”
- Video games don’t teach you how to be a respectable citizen, being around a bunch of other respectable citizens will. “In video games, no one is teaching you how to be successful and how to achieve your hopes and dreams. In the show world, you will learn how to be respectable. You will be surrounded by people who want to see you go far in life and want to teach you how to get that job you want.”
- Video games are addicting, but so are show animals. “As soon as you step in the barn for the first time you will be hooked. You’ll go from wanting to stay inside and play on the Xbox, to wanting to pack up the show box and go showing.”
- Video games are bought and then go out of style. Show animals don’t go out of style. “There will always be a new generation picking up the show stick for the first time. There will always be a kid that is getting excited to show and wants nothing more than to spend time with that animal.”
- Video games give you time to get in trouble, show animals don’t. “I’ve said it countless times and will continue to say it, show animals keep you honest. I can’t count how many times some of my friends would go out and do things they probably shouldn’t be, I never had the time to go out and chose to stay in a barn working hair. It really kept me out of trouble.”
- Learn how to manage money. “Instead of spending $50 on a video game, kids with show animals will spend that $50 to buy feed and show supplies. Showing is the best money management hobby ever.”
- Video games you can sit behind a computer and say anything you want without consequences. Showing you think twice about saying something mean. “It’s easy to sit behind a computer screen and mouth, but it’s hard to say that to someone’s face. With showing you will have to keep those things you might want to say to yourself. Instead if you want to get back at someone you will work even harder to beat them in the show ring.”
- Showing helps you develop blue ribbon kids. “Through showing you are always working for that blue ribbon, but you never notice how you change yourself to get that blue ribbon. Raising an animal will teach your kid about how to be a great person.”
So quit buying video games that give kids nothing but time to sit around doing nothing. Get them an animal and watch how they change in a matter of a few short months.
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