April 2013: What's the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you when it comes to showing cows?
The best piece of advice was being told to remember that “YOU are responsible.” This has come from every direction since the beginning.
I AM RESPONSIBLE FOR EVERYTHING. I have to make sure that:
*The cattle are fed right and taken care of from the moment I take possession of them.
*They have good living conditions.
*They are handled properly and trained.
*They maintain good health.
*I have all the supplies I need to take care of them.
*I am prepared.
*If I mess up, I admit it, and I fix it or find out how to get it fixed.
*I don’t look sour when I’m not happy. Practice a “pleasant” look. Fake it ‘til you make it.
*I do things on time or in time.
*I pay attention. I listen. I watch.
*I’m reasonably quiet. (Don’t want to agitate animals or people. Don’t call negative attention to yourself.)
*I’m dressed appropriately. (Detailed show dress, appropriate work clothes-nothing hoochie, represent well.)
*I’m a fast worker. Do a good job and finish it quickly.
*I take care of my stuff and respect other people’s, too.
*I double-check everything. Better safe than sorry.
*I jump in and help when someone needs it - not waiting until they ask me.
I know there are a million other things that I’m responsible for at shows and every other day of the year, but there’s only so much room on this blog.
What makes this advice so valuable?
Well, I guess it’s valuable because it’s simple and easy to remember. My family and my mentors and I talk about different stuff like this, and we’ve talked about how that’s the way LIFE is, not just in showing or raising cattle. That’s the way it is in families. That’s the way all people are supposed to be in the world. Everything in life should come down to the idea that “YOU are responsible.”
It irritates me when people are clueless and unhelpful and rely on everyone else to do everything for them, and then sometimes even get in the way. I am not the world’s best worker. There are kids that can work circles around me, but there are a lot of kids and even adults that I can work circles around. That’s sad. There are a lot of people in the world that don’t act like they are responsible for anything. People need to learn that “YOU are responsible.”
Have you passed along that advice to anyone else?
I’m working on it. I’m not around a whole bunch of showmen that are younger than me. A couple have parents that are by their sides constantly. One is getting out of showing this year. That leaves one brand new showman. She won her heifer with an essay. She is pretty much all by herself. She’s SO sweet and asks lots of questions. She’s just nine (and looks like she’s six). I try not to overwhelm her, but I stick by her and show her all of the things we are responsible for. I didn’t consciously decide to make this my mission. It just seemed to happen naturally because I know I’m responsible to jump in and help people before they have to ask.
At county, I was responsible for washing all five of my heifers by myself (Mom walked them to and from the wash rack for me) and then I also washed my little buddy’s heifer with her. I told her what to do and how to do it, and she did it, but she couldn’t see what she was missing, so I washed what she didn’t. She kept asking, “Is this good?” She was trying to be responsible for the quality of her work. She watched and listened and worked. I taught and I helped.
I’m trying to teach her how things should go. I don’t want her to be helpless. I feel responsible to do it. I tell her when it’s time to feed or water. We take our heifers out of the barn and “play stock show” outside on the grass. I show her when our heifers need more hay. I tell her when it’s time to change into our whites. We are still working on how to tie up properly. She must like me okay because she brought me candy.
I guess I’m trying to teach her by example. I show her what I’m responsible for, and those are the things she’s responsible for for herself. She’s only been to two shows, so later on in the fall, I’m going to ask HER questions and let her be responsible for figuring out the answers. I’m proud of her. She didn’t win her showmanship class, but she did beat out two showmen that have been showing for two years longer than she has! Apparently she’s been paying attention. It was great to see her being successful. It makes me happy to think that maybe I am responsible in some small way for what she’s learned. :)