As a past FFA and 4-H member I have accumulated little keepsakes to remember events. As I’m sure all of us have, but FFA and 4-H kids have different types of things that bring back memories. These memories are so great that trophies, banners, plaques, and buckles can’t even bring them back.
Trophies are won with one animal
Throughout your show career, you will spend your time with many animals. With each animal, you will continue using the same show equipment. That trophy reminds you of that one animal on one day. My show equipment reminds me of countless animals and good and bad days. Those are the kinds of memories that really do last a life time.
It’s heavy and awkward to carry and drag. It’s also full of what looks like junk to some. When I see a showbox at any show I immediately think back of all of the places I had to drag that show box. I can remember many hours of packing it and unpacking it, preparing for the next jackpot show or state fair. I can remember dragging it across the Tulsa State Fair, and getting stopped by a news reporter asking if I had time to talk about the Tulsa State Fair. It held on to my brothers many toy tractors, all of the free stuff that was handed out at the convention center, and a ribbon or two. Maybe I was a hoarder, or maybe I was making memories that some will never get the opportunity to have.
I am that weird college student that carries my showstick with me. It is in my college dorm, and serves the purpose of being a curtain rod (college isn’t cheap.) I can remember getting those looks from everyone, that probably thought I had a weapon in my hand, as a proudly walked across campus with it. That showstick is more valuable than a trophy to me. Every dent in it, reminds me of a time I was having a bad day and I prevailed through it. That dent reminds me of the time it helped me scratch my steers belly, and win Grand Champion. My old pig showstick, was handed down to my brother when he began showing. Some pass down jewelry, in my family we pass down a showstick.
It reminds me of the many hours spent holding a reluctant animals head up. It was there in the pouring down rain, the killer heat, and freezing cold with me. It was there from the very start of show season. From the time I first got a show steer and had to break him to lead, to the time it was time to say goodbye to that show steer. My halter still hangs up in the barn, and I can’t walk past it without smiling and remembering some of the best times spent both in the show ring and out.
My FFA/4-H jacket
I can remember to this day, the emotions I felt as I gave my last speech as FFA President. That was it. That jacket not only was with my in show career, but my FFA career as well. I can’t tell you how many miles that were traveled, how many hands were shook, and how many new friends were made in a corduroy jacket. A jacket that would kill you from heat exhaustion in summer, and freeze you out in winter. It hangs in my closet with every pin on it, as a reminder of what started my passion for agriculture.
So yes, maybe I am a hoarder. The things I hoard though, are near and dear to my heart. To all the FFA and 4-H members out there, please know that this goes by really fast. When you graduate and leave the FFA/4-H world, you will still be able to remember those memories by looking at some show equipment.