Showing livestock isn’t something that kids experience and then completely forget about. For most, showing livestock changes their lives completely and some even pursue an agriculture career. These kids carry the values and lessons they learned in and out of the show ring with them for the rest of their lives. When they have kids of their own one day, some choose to get their child involved in showing. Showing livestock teaches you about how to be the best of the best.
Becoming a Leader
Leadership for some is something they are born with, for others it’s something they have to work at to learn. In the stock show world they learn this lesson very early on. No matter what animal they take into the show ring they have to lead it in there or drive it. These animals have to learn to trust these kids and that’s why you can tell the kids that work with their animals from the kids that don’t. The animals from the kids that work with them stride in the ring, because they trust the person behind or in front of them. The kids that don’t work at it have to deal with an animal that is resistant to go anywhere with them. Just like how being a leader really is. Before people follow you they must first trust you.
Leaders have to learn how to manage their time. I’m always amazed to see how the kids in the show world are so heavily involved in other extracurricular activities. They learned how to make their hectic schedule meet the demands of their livestock and never miss a beat. I’ve seen kids leave as soon as a basketball game was over to head home to tend to their livestock. I’ve also seen kids have to come to the fairgrounds in their uniform, and just a few minutes later be wearing a FFA jacket.
Money doesn’t fall from the sky
Stock show kids have to learn how to balance a check book and keep records of their expenses. This is beyond helpful for the kids when they leave the show industry because they know how to do things that most didn’t think about doing in high school. This gives the kids a real edge when they go off into the real world and have to provide for themselves.
Working with others & Answering tough questions
FFA and 4H kids can work very well with a team or independently. I know as a former FFA member that working as a team can get things done a lot faster, but at times your team might not be there. During a livestock show it is all about the exhibitor’s ability to get the animal set up and looking good. After a livestock show you will see the exhibitors fellow 4H and FFA members lending a hand and helping load up a trailer.
While your showing there is always going to be at least one stranger come up before or after the show and talk to you. Maybe ask you where you got that animal or just a bit of background about your show project. As well as when you are in the show ring you probably aren’t going to know that judge but you want to leave a good enough impression on him to where he or she will remember you. Showing livestock will give you plenty of practice. When these kids go in for a job interview they will be prepared to answer tough questions and be ready for anything.
Lifelong memories & friendships
Making lifelong friends and memories is something all livestock exhibitors will obtain after stepping into to the stock show world. Some of the best memories aren’t always made inside the show ring, but rather at home working, sitting in the trailer preparing for the show, or headed towards the show. Showing brought my family together closer. We had to spend hours upon hours traveling together in the truck for miles and we had plenty of time to talk about anything and everything. Family and friends are the most important people in your life. Without their love and support it would be tough to do anything.
In life dedication, integrity, and hard work can get you anywhere you want to be. Those are just some of the characteristics that describe what FFA and 4H push kids to possess. Which is why FFA and 4H are beyond important for the agriculture industry. Stock show kids are always working towards conquering a goal and accomplishing their dreams. That is why stock show kids really are the best kids.
About Breanna Viles is a current college student who is combining her passion for agriculture and love for writing together, which created Raised in a Barn on Facebook. On WordPress her blog is called Raised Right in a Barn is an informational and educational blog that is helping give agriculture a much needed voice. When she isn't blogging she is spending time with her family, boyfriend, or enjoying life on the farm.