Daddy-O was busy all weekend with the 4H Junior Livestock Show. As a member of the cattlemen's association that puts on the show, he worked for days. I was still trying to get things back on track at home after 10 days away, but I couldn't resist stopping by the show barn for an hour or so to see what was going on. I was there during the goat show. 100 goats were entered this year. I missed the beef cows, dairy cows, the chickens and the rabbits. Daddy-O auctioned off the chickens after that judging. Yes, he's also an auctioneer.
I sat through many dance recitals and choral programs and community theater productions as my girls pursued their interests as they were growing up. I have many friends whose children were athletes and they never missed a ballgame. And there are the band parents, who work hard keeping high school bands funded and active.
But you might not think about the parents and grandparents who sit through cattle shows and goat shows and rabbit shows. This is a family endeavor, as the children learn about raising their animals, learn showmanship skills, learn breed characteristics and learn how to groom the animals for show. It's serious business.
The goat judge came from a neighboring state. He put the kids (both human and goat) through their paces and then patiently explained how and why he chose the winners. That's how these 4Hers learn.
I watched some very nervous 6, 7, and 8-year-olds, lined up to enter the show ring, getting words of encouragement from parents and siblings. But you could see the anxiety on their faces. To march into the ring with an animal that might or might not behave well with the whole world watching is no easy task. It's like any other performance—music, dance, gymnastics—but with the added element of an animal with a mind of its own. Even though these animals are well trained, there is always the possibility of something unexpected happening. And for some unlucky youngster, it always does.
|Photo courtesy of Daddy-O|
Remember, we all are dependent on farming for our food. Ever see the bumper sticker that says, "No Farmers No Food"? Think about it. It makes me happy to see that so many young people want to learn about farming. I know not all of them will go into farming as adults, but I hope some of them do. We like to eat and we need farmers to do that.