To the Judge Who Didn't Pick Me

I would like to say thank you, thank you for not giving me the champion slap. Not being the one to hold the title of Grand Champion has done more for me than what others may think. Now I may not have been so grateful at the time, and was less then pleased inside when I didn’t win, but that isn’t as important as the lessons I have learned. To this day, I am very thankful for that.


Not receiving that big handshake or the champion slap taught me that it is OK to lose. Losing can be hard to take when you’ve put so much hard work into something. When it comes to being a showman that means; eat, sleep, and practice. That still doesn’t guarantee a Grand Champion banner. It is how we perform outside the ring that truly counts and the hard work that comes with it. I have realized that there is always someone out there that is working hard to be a better showman then I am. Even though I might be angry or upset when I am not crowned the champion, I refuse to give up. Losing has made me realize that I should always push myself to be the best. Even in victory it is still important to strive to make the best, even better. Losing doesn’t make me a failure. I will not quit because I lost. I will always be a good sportsman, shake your hand, and give my congratulations to the deserving champion. 

You have taught me that people have different views and opinions that might not be the same as my own. Although I might’ve thought my showmanship skills were spot on that day, I will respect your opinion and take constructive criticism happily. It has taught me that every livestock evaluator has a different image of the “perfect “animal. I have learned that all livestock evaluators are different in their views. You may not have graced me with the title that day because I didn’t have the best animal there or a made a few mistakes in showmanship, but you opened my eyes to the different opinions in the agriculture industry.

I have accepted that I have lost. I will move on, learn from it, and work harder. Even though I might not agree with your decision at the end of the day it’s yours that matters and I thank you for the experience. I have learned to be humble in defeat and take this moment as a learning opportunity. With your constructive criticism and advice, I will learn from my mistakes and become better. The lessons become more important in loss and it has taught me to appreciate when I finally get that champion slap, or the handshake, a lot more. In turn, I’ll pass on the advice I’ve received to those who look up to me, fulfilling the definition of a good showman. Thank you for not picking me, it’s made me a better showman and role model alike, and for that I will always be grateful. 

-Michelle Colemen, Maryland Rep

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