“I’ve said before, “If you could lead it, I showed it…” It was the natural progression of things to grow from a 4-H kid to an FFA kid.
One season at the Grant County fair I showed two different species; one for 4-H and one for FFA. I loved to show partially because I love animals and partially because I am crazy competitive.
My sister and I spent a lot of time with our animals teaching them what they needed to know and grooming them. That season I showed a black, Suffolk lamb in FFA and, ironically, a Charolais Heifer in the 4-H Beef show- nothing like bucking the norm.
Showmanship was back to back for both animals, so I got my heifer ready while my sister kept an eye on my lamb. Then we switched… I went for my lamb class and she went to the steer barn to keep an eye on my heifer. FFA Sheep went first, so there I was in my blue corduroy, tux shirt and tie and black pants in the middle of August, sweating heavily as you can imagine.
My class was filled with good, experienced showmen, and the judge worked us hard. I remember knowing I was in good company in that class. Outside the ring these were my friends, but competition was tight that day.
I ended up winning my showmanship class with my lamb and after quick congratulations to the other competitors I handed my lamb off to someone so I could race down the midway changing from FFA to 4-H clothes as I went. One of my parents followed behind me, helping to corral clothes and equipment, smiling and waving to my other parent doing the same behind my sister as we passed. I remember being super pumped after the experience. It was so exciting when all of my hard work that summer paid off with a rosette.
I went into my beef showmanship on cloud 9 and was having a good run until my heifer decided she wanted to play and tried to jump on me. It all happened so fast! I think I heard a collective gasp go up from everyone watching, but I just kept on showing even though I was shocked at her behavior and a little ticked that she misbehaved. The Judge rewarded me with a Reserve Champion and I remember walking out of the ring going, “Did you see that!!” It was all pretty exciting.
That season goes down as one of many great “this one time” stories that involve FFA. I know that everyone involved in FFA has them as it was where friendships and memories were made.”
Behind the scenes with