Anyone who has shown livestock knows that there is no feeling quite like that first march into the show ring. You need to be on your game. Your eyes seldom leave the judge, because you know that even when you may not make eye contact, that judge is watching you the whole time. You have your animal on peak performance. You hit every set, make even turn, and do whatever you can to make sure that the judge sees just how great you are. When you are in the ring, it’s your time. You’ve got your eye on the prize and know that you are going to walk out with that ribbon or banner when it’s all said and done.
And then the class is over.
You make the same proud march out of that ring that you did on the way in. Your hard work has paid off. You brought home the hardware. The question is, who helped you get to this point? Was it your parents? Your siblings? For myself, that answer just so happens to revolve around some of those who were in the ring with me.
Over the eight years that I was involved in showing livestock, I was surrounded by an amazing support system of some of my best friends, a group we called “Team Ternet.” This team consisted of some of my best friends that I showed livestock with, and generally accounted for about 30 head of cattle every year at our county fair, as well as a handful of other species. As we went through our years showing various species of livestock, we taught each other how to show, learned from each other’s tendencies, and grew not only as a “team,” but also as a family.
We had our successes together, however, that was never the point. We were there to learn together and to support each other no matter what the outcome in the ring. Together we learned the importance of hard work, what it meant to wake up early and stay up late, how to learn from failures, and rejoice in successes. No matter what we faced, we always had each other to lean on and learn from. We were there for each other in everything we faced; no matter if that was in the show ring, in the classroom, or in the blue jacket. We were—and still are—always there for each other.
Who is your support team?
In our lives, it is crucial to find that group of people that we can rely on and that likewise rely on us. We learn together and from each other. We can lean on that support team when we need someone to be there for us. We can likewise be there for them. I hope that we all find that support team and—if we already know who that is—never forget to be thankful for everything they have done for us.