“You do what to those cattle?!” This is a phrase I’ve often heard when explaining to consumers about the show cattle side of beef production. They are often surprised that we not only bathe cattle, but blow dry, clip, condition and work hair on these animals, let alone put them on a halter and show them!
Not every producer is involved in showing, but there are some that make a living out of raising show cattle, and others that just want to occasionally showcase the quality of the animals they breed. Still others are involved through youth programs like 4-H and FFA that teach members about raising these animals and often inspire them to pursue careers within the beef field.
I’ll be very honest when I say that I would not be here if it weren’t for programs like 4-H and FFA. I am a product of the show industry. It is where I found my passion for cattle and learned innovative ways to raise them. Without showing, I know that I would have never taken an interest in beef cattle nor found the passion I have for representing and advocating for this amazing group of people and their livelihoods.
The show industry is a great program in which youth can be exposed to raising cattle and what it takes to do so, and helps them to earn a little money that they can either save or spend as they please. It teaches responsibility, commitment, compassion and accountability through having an animal rely on you to care for it. Success in the show ring only comes if you work hard and do things the best way possible. You have to ensure that you and your animal have a mutual respect and love for each other if you are going to get anywhere.
Beyond the amazing qualities it helps to develop, some of my best friends have been made around the show ring. There is just something about sitting in the bleachers watching cattle shows, or helping on another to clip or fit an animal that creates an inseparable bond. Though we are all from different parts of the country, I know that I can rely on my show friends to always be there if I need advice or assistance.
From the Heart of Beef,