Like many of our blog readers, I have shown cattle since the day I was allowed – when I turned 8-years-old. Now, many years older, I have had the opportunity to show hundreds of times on the national, state and local levels. One thing remains the same no matter what level I’m showing at — my nerves and certain thoughts before I hit the bark with my heifer by my side.
Here are 23 thoughts that roam through my mind (and I’m sure many of yours) before entering the ring on show day.
1. Why did we get here so early again?
Show day is a day full of hurry up and wait. Wake up at 3 a.m. to rush to the wash rack and get your animal dry, just to sit there and watch her eat and lay down, to rush to get her ready and into the ring. Sometimes I contemplate why we show cattle for fun, when we could be normal people and sleep in on a Sunday morning.
2. Darn it, why is ______ in my class?!
Everyone has that family or that heifer on their list that you do your best to avoid getting stuck in class with every year.
3. I better grab a goldfish or two so I don’t pass out.
Let’s face it, a meal on show day is nonexistent. You’re lucky to sneak in a tiny snack. I learned this lesson the hard way and when I got really sick from not drinking or eating the entire day. So now, I make time to sneak in a tiny snack!
4. Hail Mary, Full of Grace, please drink that bucket of water.
We all know that slight panic attack when your heifer sniffs the bucket of water. Will she or won’t she take a sip? That is the question.
5. I’ve done this a million times…why am I so nervous?!
No matter who or what I am showing, I get nervous. Nerves mean you care.
6. Quick self-check – shirt tucked in, belt on, pants uncuffed, do I have the right number on?
I am a firm believer in looking as professional as possible in the show ring, which means a collared button down shirt tucked in and jeans that are not too tight. Nothing should be out of place that would draw attention to myself and away from my heifer.
7. Well, I’m going to have to buy a gallon of Shout when I get home to get this mess off my jeans.
If you can stay clean on show day, please tell me your secret! Even when I put on a new pair of jeans before entering the showring, I will manage to get something on them. Adhesive, manure, dirt, water; you name it!
8. I hope nobody notices the layer of adhesive on my face.
It never fails. Kneeling down on the mat, pulling a front leg and BOOM – you get sprayed in the face by the dude fitting her belly on the other side. I suppose a little layer of adhesive will help my makeup stay on longer?
9. What class are they on?
The million-dollar question. This question gets asked at least 25 times on show day, and sometimes results into fist fights if you don’t know the answer.
10. This red vest makes me look like I’m hiding a baby calf under here.
For you Hereford people, you know the red vest can be slightly unflattering. But they look very professional once all of us are in the ring! #HerefordBreederProbz
11. Is my cellphone in the showbox?
I do not keep my cell phone on me while in the show ring. I do not like the distraction, so I have my sister keep my family in the loop about the day.
12. Please let the last few months pay off.
Like most livestock families, my family lives and breathes cattle. Our lives revolve around them! Strict diets, rinsing every day, nights in the barn until 10 p.m., it’s hard not to hope all your hard work pays off.
13. Is she full enough?
Maybe just a half-scoop more of Winning Fill and a bucket of water will do! Perfect.
14. Man, I love my team. She looks the best she ever has!
It takes an army to raise, feed, clip, and get one ready. My team always gets the cattle looking their best, and I can’t thank them enough. Nothing would be possible without them.
15. Please don’t act like your mom. Cooperate and prove you’ve been to a show before, heifer!
The older I get, the more I realize how much cattle are like their mamas. Not only do they get their phenotypic traits, they gain their attitudes…sometimes that’s good and sometimes it’s bad. In my case, it’s usually a bad thing.
16. Where’s my good showstick?
Define good: bent, chipped, has paint on it, worn out. But it’s always been there for me and I can’t seem to part with it. I’m a little #superstitious.
17. Why are they all staring at us walking to the show ring? Is this a good thing?
Either your heifer looks banging, or she looks terrible. Hopefully she looks awesome and your competition is just checking you out.
18. Where the heck is ______ with the paper towels?!
The person who is always there suddenly isn’t right when your heifer takes a bathroom break. I won’t name any names. Hurry up with those paper towels!
19. I have to pee.
I ALWAYS have to go to the bathroom whenever I’m in the makeup area. Even if I just went 10 minutes ago! #AintNobodyGotTimeForThat
20. Hold her real quick so I can look at her.
I always step back and get a good view of my animal once she is dressed. I love presenting a calf’s best attributes while masking their weaknesses. Walking just a tad bit slower, or touching their top in a specific spot can make a world of a difference.
21. Okay, take the rope halter off already!
Being one anxious gal, I like to take the rope halter off as soon as I can. I like the heifer to get used to the show halter, even if she’s had one on her before.
22. Say a prayer, here we go…
I tend to say a quick prayer in my head every time I step foot into the show ring. These range from, “Dear God, please have this heifer hold her head up”, “Dear God, please don’t let me throw up”, “Dear God, please let the judge’s opinion be in our favor.” I think having faith no matter what the circumstances are is very important in the #StockShowLife
23. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else right now.
The show ring is my happy place. Being with my cattle makes me happy. My support system is at ringside. Showing livestock is amazing.
Photo credit to Legacy Livestock Imaging.
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