If there is one thing that changed how I viewed the show world growing up, it was taking ownership of my animals. I know it sounds like an easy concept for a lot of parents out there but for a young showman, it is hard to see the investment that show projects really are. Oftentimes a young 4-H or FFA member gets caught up in the fun that they’re having running around in the wood shavings, or maybe the fact that their friends are beating them every time they step in the ring. They lose sight of what really matters. Which provides an interesting question… What is it that really matters?
If you ask me, the greatest effect that the show industry can have on our youth is to better their basic understanding of animal health and how that translates to feeding the world. It also provides an avenue to teach common success traits like responsibility and hard work. But, from my experiences, there is an opportunity for so much more. The opportunity to teach our youth about the value of an investment.
Now I know what you’re thinking but this is not the kind of investment where you have to know about the “Dow” or futures, it's the kind where a person knows what they have, and wants to make more from it. It's a simple investment of time, effort, and heart; to push themselves toward something more.
To begin this investment in a showman’s life, the first thing they have to do is throw away the idea that everyone is better than them. That everyone else has more resources, more money, and more knowledge. The best attitude that I can think of for show ring success is a quote by one of my greatest mentors and former boss, Maverick Squires. He said “someone has to win, why not us?” When a showman can develop that attitude they will stop seeing what they don’t have and start seeing what they can do to get to where they need to be. They will see the gap between their present status and their goals. Most importantly, they will see the animals in their barn as more than lackluster figures, but future champions.
That’s what really matters.