I was a livestock exhibitor at the Missouri State Fair for many years. It was a place to see old friends, make new ones, show off your hard work and have fun. Showing is fun. At least it was for me. I put in over 10 years of showing livestock and will never forget those days. They taught me a lot of things, like working hard, taking care of something, seeing things through and most of all dedication.
When starting my post about the Missouri State Fair I had to go and change it three times. I was going to tell you about our day. I was going to talk about the Focus On Missouri Photo Contest. I was going to show you pictures of my beautiful children and handsome nephew (not biased at all). In the end I decided to talk about none of that. Instead I want to talk about the youth who are in the barns day in and day out working with their animals so that they can show us what dedication really is.
For the short amount of time that I got to be in the barns this year, I saw dedication, hard work, reward and good character. I would of loved, (LOVED), to have just been in the barns snapping pictures of what I saw, capturing the moments that make up being a livestock exhibitor. When you have three kids, a nephew and a Gpa who have other ideas, well then you get the few pictures that you can and move on to the next thing.
A young man, who I have never met impressed me with this character. We had gotten to the sheep barn and found our friend/neighbor Erin and her sheep. The young man next to her noticed that the Tessa was looking at his lambs and asked it she would like to pet one. He then went into his pen and brought a ewe over to her so that she could pet it. She loved it!!! I think he got a kick out of it too, but he took the time to notice her and I won’t forget that.
Our next stop was the swine barn. We have many Linn County kids who go to the State Fair and expected to see some of them and our very good friends from Knox County. It was not a show day, but weigh-in time for the barrows and things were kind of busy. We did catch up with the Penn Family from Knox County and got to see their girls Jessie and Becca and meet their pigs. Jessie and Becca are twins, (like me!) and this year they made a big jump in showing pigs. This year they raised their own show pigs. Now that is dedication.
Many 4-H’ers and FFA members don’t have a facility or the right set up to raise pigs. They may have a small lot and barn for a few pigs that they raise just to take to fairs. This in its self does take dedication and hard work, but these girls in my mind stepped it up this year and took both of those further. Now, did they win? I don’t know their official placings, but if you ask them I have a feeling that they will think that they did and that the win is much sweeter when you show something that you raised. Great job Becca and Jessie!! (The above picture is of Becca and her little sister Lillie, who is following in her sister’s foot steps when it comes to showing.)
At the Missouri State Fair there are a lot of cattle barns. A LOT. We did not get to them. We did however get to see some of the FFA Gelbvieh Cattle show. Gelbvieh is what I showed and what is part of my dad’s cattle herd. In this case I am a little biased and feel that Gelbvieh is a great breed! It did take me long time to remember how to spell it.
Showing cattle is not always easy. It is hard work. This young lady, Rachel, is having a bit of trouble with her heifer. The little gal was tired of being in the show ring and Rachel was doing her best to stay calm and control the heifer. I was very proud of the way Rachel handled this and the determination she has. Some exhibitors might have called in the towel or used “other” tactics to try to control the heifer. Rachel did a great job and did just what she should have: stayed calm, dropped the show stick out-of-the-way, and found a way to keep the heifer in the show ring. Well done Rachel!
There are many more examples of youth being excellent at the State Fair. To see more youth in action check out the following links and YouTube video.
I will finish this up with one picture of my beautiful children and handsome nephew. (Ok, I am really biased on this one.) They are sitting in the HighWay Gardens at the Missouri State Fair, my second favorite place on the grounds.
If you know of any other outstanding youth who exhibit livestock, please share a link or story with me. I would love to read it!
Blessings to You,
Laurie – Country Link