I HATE losing. It’s something I have never enjoyed doing, and I would do anything in my power to ensure that was something I did not go through. This was especially true with my livestock. During my Senior year, I bought a bangin good Angus steer. He was one of a kind, and our goal was to win Champion Angus steer at the state fair. Throughout the show season, we would travel to cattle shows as a family, along with the family we bought from.
No matter how hard I tried, I was constantly placing second. Never. First.
I would constantly beat myself up about going to these shows, and feeling like I was failing every time. I finally got the nerve to sit down with my Dad and talk about it. I asked him what I was doing wrong - Was I not a good enough showman? Did we give him enough water before strutting into that ring? What was I doing wrong?
He looked at me with his ‘matter of fact dad look,’ and said “Our goal is State Fair. This is a time to just get him out and learn.”
This is normally the time that I’m supposed to be okay with it and move on, right? No. In fact, throughout the entire show season, I was bitter and angry. Do you want to know why? It’s all because I was so close-minded and over focused on being the best.
The State Fair finally rolls arounds, and it’s time for me to go in the ring. I walked in, and I was feeling pretty good! He starts placing the class. 5th gets pulled. Perfect, still in the running… but not for long. 4th gets pulled - and it’s me. At that moment, all I saw was red. After the early mornings, late nights, and long hours in the barn, this is it? At this point, confusion raced through my mind. After the class had ended, I didn’t talk to anyone for a solid two hours, rinsed my steer, and sat in the corner, pouting.
During that time of pout and feeling sorry for myself, I finally had a wake up call with a small voice reminding me, “Pick yourself back up. This all has its purpose.” Sometimes, life may interrupt the goals we have in life. However, if it wasn’t for those moments of placing second in those jackpot shows and fourth at State Fair, I wouldn’t have grown to know that the livestock industry isn’t about winning - it’s about the relationships within the industry that make it all so great. If it wasn’t for the people within the farming community, agriculture would not be what it is today.