Abbey and Taylor back again. Just two more weeks and we will be on our way to St. Paul! We are so excited for Junior Nationals to begin.
First a little update on our work. Decorations, banners, Swag bag items and more keep coming in for us to take with us. Abbey is almost done with the exhibitor folder. A big thanks to all of those that have gotten back to her with information! Be watching your email, as you should receive a confirmation packet from Taylor soon!
Today’s blog is going to be about our favorite show memories, as preparing for this event is pretty nostalgic as you might guess.
I participated in 4-H for 11 years (Welcome week for college kept me from being able to show my 12th year), and never at a level higher than the county show. This was because my main goal was the carcass contest, but looking back I wish I had pushed myself to travel more and compete at a high level. Anyways, that’s beside the point. My favorite showing memory is from my first time showing at the Arkansas Valley Fair in Rocky Ford, CO.
It was my ninth year in 4-H and I had just moved to Rocky Ford from Kansas. At this point all I showed was a steer and a heifer, as my sisters were all in college and I was not about to have two of every animal. I was so far out of my comfort zone having to join a new club and had zero idea what I was up against. It didn’t help that everyone that talked to me about what 4-H was like in the area made comments that I shouldn’t get my hopes up about placing very well.
You see there was this kid that supposedly won Grand Champion Market Steer every year. He had a special designed cooler for his animals, while my mom believed that the right fan and washing my animal every day would still give my steer nice full hair. (That philosophy never failed me.)
So here I was, the new girl in the country that nobody talked to and thinking that everyone was watching to see how low I would place. My steer was in a different weight class than the other kid, and we both won our class. Then in the final drive, us first five had barely gotten our steers set when the judge walked up while giving his reasons for his Grand Champion pick and shook my hand. I was so shocked that I didn’t know what to do. But winning the overall market steer, when no one thought I had a chance, gave me back my confidence when showing and taught me that it didn’t matter where I was showing because I loved it and that’s all that mattered.
When I first began showing, at the age of 10, I had no idea I would fall so in love. My initial thoughts were; raise a steer, do decent at county fair, and just collect a paycheck. Little did I know I would end up spending a great deal of my time in the barn and traveling on the weekends because I enjoyed it that much.
I believe one of the most rewarding portions of showing cattle is the “show family” you make and it seemed many of our family vacations were spent in the show ring. The stories you remember, the friends you make, and the lessons you learn are somethings you will always hold dear to your heart; I know I do. My absolute favorite memory from showing dates back to 2012. My sister is the complete opposite of me: blonde hair, blue eyes, makeup always just perfect. She’s not afraid to get dirty, but I am pretty certain she will even be dressed up to play in the mud. Needless to say, the idea of her showing cattle was something never really discussed. My dad had mentioned it a time or two, but she showed no interest; that was until my sophomore year of high school. The day she came to me and said “Tay, I think I want to show this year”, just a few tears of joy were shed.
Being able to spend time together both in and out of the ring is something I look back on now and don’t take for granted. Of course with any siblings, we had the fights regarding whose turn it was to wash or she needed to walk a few more laps, you know the typical show family arguments, but Mama always made us hug it out and we would move right on. By the way, even when I am back in Florida for a visit and there is an argument, she still makes us hug!
I am a strong believer that somethings are just priceless and quality time is one of those. No ribbons, no buckle, no money, can compare to the strong friendship bonds you make through showing livestock.
With Jr. National’s right around the corner we hope you are looking forward to making lots of memories. We can’t wait to see, hear, and be a part of this year’s show!
-Abbey & Taylor