By: Rachel Cutrer
I love showing cattle, that’s no secret. And, I feel like I’m fairly experienced in the matter. I won two junior breed national showmanship titles as a youth, and I’ve judged seven different breed’s junior nationals showmanship contests, including Hereford last week, which was amazing.
But this summer, I began a new journey: being a show mom. My 8 year old daughter Mollie began showing, and to my surprise, my 8 year old taught me a thing or two about showing.
1. Showing is meant to be fun!
As a grown up, I tend to approach showing from an entirely different perspective than as I did as young person. We show because our business requires it. It’s not a hobby for us. It’s a business. It’s a requirement as a seedstock breeder for us.
But for Mollie, showing is totally a hobby.
Early on, lots of my mentors kept telling me, “Remember Rachel, it’s all about having a good time.”
That does not describe my view of showing as an adult. My view of showing as an adult is for marketing purposes, to prove up progeny of a certain sire or donor, or to showcase our top genetics so that we can sell semen and embryos worldwide.
But to Mollie, showing is a means to making friends. Showing is a means to spend time with our family. Mollie could care less if she wins or loses. In fact, she readily told me she was ready to be done showing for the day so she could change back into her shorts and get out of her hot show clothes. To her, showing is 100% fun. And when you look at it from that perspective, it makes things a lot funner for everyone.
2. Be happy for your friends when they win! (Even if you don’t win).
Mollie has shown twice this summer, and she’s done this thing every time. It’s adorable, but I hate to call it to her attention because I don’t want her to get embarrassed and stop.
At the first show, she won her class, and went in for division champion, only to get beat by one of her friends. Actually she got beat by someone else with a V8 heifer. When the judge picked Holden, Mollie kinda put her lead strap under her chin, and started clapping right there in the ring for her friend Holden. It was precious. It was pure happiness for someone else winning.
Then, at Junior Nationals, Mollie won her class, and division, and her friend Madison was Grand Champion. Again, right there in the show ring, Mollie finagled her show halter so she could start clapping with both hands for her friend. While still showing her own heifer.
There was no jealousy. There was no fighting. There was no criticizing or blaming. Just a sweet 8-year-old, sincerely happy for the two other children who won.
I need that reminder.
3. There is a bond between showman and animal.
At her first show, while the judge was talking the class (which Mollie won), all of a sudden, Mollie just leans up to her heifer and gives her a big ol’ kiss.
When she got out of the ring, I said “Why in the world did you just randomly kiss Queen Dawn?”
And then Mollie said the sweetest thing. She said: “Did you hear all the nice things the judge was saying about her? He was talking so nice about her, so I just said ‘Queen Dawn he’s talkin’ about you!” and I gave her a kiss.
And I have to say, there is a love between this heifer and my daughter that I haven’t seen in 22 years, when I myself showed my last Brahman junior show heifer. She was a show heifer I had a bond with that no one else had, and she made me feel proud of myself, and made me feel confident. My daughter reminded me of that feeling. And, for the record, Queen Dawn will be receiving special treatment for the rest of her life for all the good she’s done for my daughter.
“I TOLD HER ‘QUEEN DAWN HE’S TALKIN’ ABOUT YOU” AND REACHED UP AND GAVE HER A KISS CAUSE I WAS SO HAPPY FOR HER.
-Mollie Cutrer, Age 8
*I really wish I knew what she was thinking during this picture. Some junior board members told me she sings and hums to her heifer while she’s showing, so I think maybe that is it.
4. I realized how thankful I am to have a great show husband and show dad.
Showing takes a family. It takes a lot of responsibility to manage the entries, sign up for contests, watch other siblings, keep track of where your child is….then all the other normal show expectations of caring for your livestock. This is not easy. Doing this activity reminded me how thankful I am to have a great husband who is capable and loves showing like I do, and thankful for my own dad and grandparents who supported me as a child.
5. Sponsors, junior boards, volunteers and judges make a difference!
It’s easy to overlook these people that make the show happen. But, each of these people are so important in the stock show process.
When Mollie placed 2nd in showmanship, she received a $125 check sponsored by The Brahman Foundation. You would have thought she just won $1 million dollars. I asked her what she was going to buy with her money and said “A new car!!!” Sponsors, you make a difference.
My daughter was also nervi-cited about showing. If you don’t know what nervi-cited is, it’s a combination of nervous/excited. The saving grace that gave her confidence was the junior board working the ring. I kept telling her, ‘Harley is there in the ring, if you have any trouble, he will help you.” These junior board kids give the youngsters confidence they need. They adopt the young kids and welcome them with open arms. Junior boards, you make a HUGE difference.
Judges make a huge difference too. For whatever reason, Mollie was scared of the judge. I guess scared he might ask her something she didn’t know? Well, for her first show, the judge was Mark McClintock. Anyone who’s shown under Mark knows he takes a lot of time to speak to the juniors, interact with them, and make them feel good. When Mollie didn’t win, he walked over to her and “Is this your first show?” Mollie replied yes it was, and he said “Well, 10 years from now, when you’ve won many champions, always remember it was Mark McClintock who judged you first!”
She loved it!!! And now, she thinks Mark is the greatest judge in history. (I’m not disputing this lol, I kinda like him a lot too!:) Anytime since when we have mentioned a judge, her question is “Is he as good of a judge as Mr. Mark McClintock?”
That judge made my daughter feel comfortable, and important. Judges make a difference.
Look at that smile! Then look to the far left of the picture…that’s Harley Wade, one of the AJBA Junior Directors. They keep a close eye on the young kids, especially the 8 and 9 year olds, and are always within an arms reach in case the little ones need a hand. It gives the young kids a feeling of confidence and assurance. And calms us parents too! 🙂
So, I share these stories because this summer has been a learning experience for our entire family. On our way home from church on Sunday, Brandon just randomly said, “We have had a great summer!” And we have, mostly thanks to showing.
Here at Ranch House, we live and breathe the livestock business, and the show industry is one of the niche markets we have the strongest areas of expertise. Nearly every team member here at Ranch House has direct experience either showing themselves, or as a show parent.
So when you want to work with a marketing firm that understands your business, we want to be your desired choice. Ranch House first got it’s start doing websites over 20 years ago by working with show cattle producers like WHR Shorthorns, Barber Ranch, Jeff Aegerter, Brian Martin, Bobby Maddox, and other show cattle people who were on the cutting edge of technology and invested early in building a website. Today, we manage more than 900 websites for farmers and ranchers worldwide. If you have a product to market in the show industry, or livestock to market to show families, we know what it takes to achieve your goals.
If you’ve been thinking of doing a logo or website with us, you can get started by Requesting A Quote so we can learn a little more about you and what you need. Then, within less than a week we can usually answer your questions, book your project, and get the balls rolling on your new marketing project, logo, or website. Don’t delay!