Some people look at those who show livestock and think we are crazy. Some ask, “Why would you put all that time and money into a hobby?” This week we celebrate National Ag Week and all forms of agriculture and for many, this is a way of life that is deeply loved and cherished. Below we share ten reasons why.
The people we show livestock with and against become often become friends so close that many are considered family. Family that may live across the state or across the country but the distance is always forgotten as soon as it’s time for a show. The relationships and people we meet showing livestock is one of the best reasons why it’s “worth it.”
2. Passions Are Discovered
Many who haul trailers of livestock hundreds of miles to show are considered passionate about showing. While showing livestock is a great passion, many other passions and future careers are discovered through competing. For some it may be a realization that they love cattle breeding, for others a camera from outside the show ring can become a realized talent and some find a love for marketing, social media or agricultural advocacy when sharing their stories about the #stockshowlife.
3. It’s a Tradition
Some families have traditions like annual trips, attending sporting events, baking recipes passed down from previous generations or camping. Other families show and raise livestock. And there are few things more special than seeing a love for animals, passion for the land and appreciation for great stock passed on to another generation.
4. Family Time
It may not seem like it now, but those hours in the car traveling to shows, the time spent hanging out in the stalls and working animals together turn into some of the most cherished memories. And siblings make both the best teammates and competition.
5. Life Lessons
It may sound cliche but it always bears repeating. The lessons of both winning AND losing in the ring prepare showmen for the ups and downs of life. All champions were once competitors and going from the bottom of the class to the top is a journey that teaches more than a library full of books ever could.
Not many young people can say they have visited the number of states and places as those who have shown livestock. Through traveling to shows and leadership conferences, junior livestock showmen have the opportunity to see and experience things far beyond the farm gate.
Great mentors can be a make or break reason why young people are successful and there is no shortage of great leaders and mentors to be found at livestock shows. The opportunity to both be a mentor and find one is almost always present around a show ring.
8. Knowledge of the food system
With less than 2% of our nation involved in production agriculture, a true understanding of where food comes from and how it’s raised is now a privilege rather than an expectation. People who show and raise livestock realize the responsibility and hard work that goes into producing food, a quality that is extremely valuable to our industry today.
9. Business Skills
When I graduated high school, I was one of the few students in my class who truly understood how to balance a checkbook. Why? Because I had one from the time I was in middle school to use the money I earned selling my livestock. Now, not many young showmen are using checkbooks, but the ability to manage money, run businesses and keep records are still valuable skills that make showing livestock worth it later in life.
10. Fond Memories, GREAT Stories
When you raise and show livestock, you’ll never have a shortage of stories to tell at a dinner party. Stories may include, but are not limited to: the time a steer got loose at county fair and in an effort to restrain the animal, a police officer decided to taze it; that time you thought it might be fun to pick up a hitch hiker on the way to a show; when you saw the flint hills of Kansas for the first time on your way to junior nationals; when you thought tent camping might be a good idea for a regional stock show and it rained the entire four days you were there; and the day your family finally won that big show. Great stories, better memories and amazing adventures definitely make this lifestyle worth it.
There’s so many reasons we love the show and agricultural life and they are not limited to the ones on this list! What reasons would you add? Let us know in the comments or send a snapchat of your reason to ranchhouseinc!
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Have you heard of the RHD Showman Bundle? It’s never too early to start branding your junior showman’s operation! This package is only valid for youth showman under age 18 and is greatly discounted because we believe in helping young people get a solid foundation. Learn more here.