One Way to Win, a Million Ways to Lose


Growing up showing livestock, I would always wonder what separates the "winners" from the "losers." Some would say the winners are the ones who know the judge or the ones who let hard work and dedication lead them straight to the winners circle.  I have a different opinion on this, because I've seen kids that didn't work with their animal win, and I've seen kids that have worked relentlessly with their animal and  not win. With fair season starting up we all pondering on the question, what makes that person a winner. Although we call it a "Fair," we all know it isn't always fair. First off, there are kids that spend a decent amount of money providing everything for that show animal. They know how to balance their checkbook, and keep their time and money on an equal playing field. They spend every day working with their show animal, it doesn't matter if it's raining cats or dogs, or snowing so hard that Frosty the Snowman is helping them lead their steer into the barn. They are out there and getting thing done. Contrasting them is "those kids," we all know those type of showmen. They don't see their animal until the DAY or night of the show. They let their family or livestock breeder do all of the work. They don't worry about money management because mom and dad will figure it out. They don't walk out to the barn if there is dew on the ground.

So which kid should win? The one who does everything or the one that lets others do everything. Here's the thing, it all comes down to the show ring. Sometimes that hardworking kid will out show the other kid, but other times the spoiled kid will out show the kid that does everything all by themselves. Some will say that is awful, or isn't "fair." It's all up to the judge though, and a different judge might judge the same set of animals differently on a different day.

Local fairs and state fairs, are all about that animal that day. The judge doesn't see what goes on before that day, or how much money was put into that animal. Everyone is on an equal playing field on show day. Just remember that sometimes, just like life, it isn't fair. There is something greater said about the kid that learned how to manage their time and money, against the kid who relys on their parents to tell them what their show animal looks like. Trust me, the real world will be on the side of the kid who learned all of those important lessons. The hardworking kid will be ready to go out and achieve greatness.

There are some that spend a hundred dollars on their animal, and other that spend thousands upon thousands on their animal. The difference? It's all about you and how badly you want to win it. I have seen the cheaper animal prevail and beat that high class show animal before, why? The kid dragging that high class animal wasn't showing their hearts out. Don't ever let the fear of what could happen, stop you from doing your best in the show ring.

I was there, I use to show steers against some of the bigger cattle breeders. I can remember telling my dad, "That's it, we've already lost. So and so is here and they brought so and so to fit it." My dad would always tell me, "There is only one way to find out."

There is only one way to find out, and one way to win. Don't worry about the competitors and just do your own thing. If you worry about others, not work with your animal everyday, and make excuses, you will fall victim for the million ways to lose category. "It doesn't matter who you are, how much money is in your pocket, or who you know. What matters is how you show in the show ring. Stop worrying about the show world, and worry about YOUR OWN show world," - Raised in a Barn Logic.

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