I grew up showing livestock. From the age 8 to 18, you could find me working late nights and early mornings in the barn, and on the road on weekends traveling to various livestock shows. My community watched me grow up showing livestock. "I remember when you were 8 years old, I watched you show pigs at the Delaware County Fairgrounds." Looking back, I can see myself grow up from pictures of me showing livestock. I didn't know it then, but showing livestock taught me so many life lessons. As a young adult, I still use the things I learned showing livestock like money management, time management, and what hard work and dedication really are.
To be honest, I was never the "winner." I won a few livestock shows here and there, but never enough for people to remember my name the next day. When we pulled up, no one recognized our trailer and that was okay. I was just a stock show kid showing others that you didn't have to win to have fun.
My parents made it clear to others that me showing livestock wasn't about me winning blue ribbons. We didn't always have the nicest animals, but we always had the very best times traveling together. My parents wanted to raise a blue ribbon kid.
My family didn't take vacation, we went livestock showing. Showing livestock made my family closer. Instead of sitting in front of a tv not talking, we were working together to prepare for livestock shows. We were also traveling in a truck and talking about everything. Showing livestock is a family event.
I won Reserve Shorthorn at the Tulsa State Fair my junior year. Do you know what I remember most about that show? My family sitting around eating ice cream from the dairy barn. My agricultural educator telling jokes and stories as we prepared for the show. My fondest memories of FFA and 4-H involve being at a livestock show.
Showing livestock was one of the very best things that every happened in my life. It allowed me to make life long friends, travel, and it made my family closer. Most importantly, it made me grow. I didn't know how much I was actually growing in the show ring, but looking back I am so thankful for being able to have had the opportunity to show livestock.
I want to encourage any parent that has a child wanting to show livestock, to let them go for it.
Like Raised in a Barn on Facebook. Twitter/Instagram/Snapchat @raisedbarn.