At our ranch, we are now in official crunch time, GO time, game time. For us, the 30 days prior to the Houston Livestock Show, (one of three shows our ranch goes to each year) is our single biggest opportunity for sales and promotion of our ranch.
When we do Houston, we go BIG. We take 30 head to the show, spend time crafting a fancy booth and stall display. We even get special shirts with our ranch logo on it. It’s our chance to show off to the world (seriously, there’s a lot of international buyers who come!).
But, we are actually really small.
We live in a town with waaaaayyyy more cattle than people.
We have to borrow our neighbor’s trailer to haul cattle to the show.
Brandon’s parents come in from Mississippi to help us babysit the girls that week because there is no way we could do it alone.
But, you can do big things even in small places. When my grandfather bought the V8 brand and cattle in 1971, he made the deal via pay phone while on the only family vacation they ever took. The town? Red River, New Mexico, population 483.
This month, thousands of kids have and will show at major events throughout Texas and thousands of other showmen will be exhibiting at beef expos throughout the Midwest.
Many of these amazing, hard working families are just like us: people doing big things in small places. People from across rural America traveling to “the big cities” to have a great week with their kids at the major shows. People who are taking off work, saving money, and working together to make dreams come true.
So, when you go to that show, here are some things I want you to remember:
It doesn’t matter what kind of truck and trailer you pull up in. What matters is inside that trailer, and the time you’ve spent on it. Every animal entered in the show has the same chance of winning. It’s anybody’s ball game.
It doesn’t matter whether you have a fancy schmancy showbox with laser lights and USB plug-ins, or a wooden one your grandpa made. Both are just fine. What matters is how you use those tools inside it and the work you put in.
When you first unload your animal off that trailer, he’s going to be nervous and so are you. Especially if it’s your first time to the major show or city. Take a deep breath. You’ve got this.
There’s going to be a lot of new people. Some you’ll really like, some different than you and for some, you may find it hard not to envy what they already have. Remember, no one sees the work put in before now. We have no idea what each other has sacrificed or done to get to where we are now, and everyone is fighting their own challenges. Let’s be nice. And don’t believe everything you hear about people.
There’s going to be 2,000 kids competing and one Grand Champion. You may be that Grand Champion and think this is the best judge on the planet. You may be one of the 1999 other kids and wish you did better. Either way, remember, the judge is doing his best and deserves respect.
Greatness isn’t defined by where you come from — small town or big. It’s also not defined by the number of banners hanging in your barn, although I’ll admit, those are great and something to strive for. What makes these shows a BIG deal is often the people behind the exceptional livestock — the work, the expertise and the drive. You don’t have to have lots of money, fancy things or come from somewhere people have heard of to work hard, become an expert in your craft and make BIG things happen.
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