Upon Your Last One
I wrote this blog post on the eve of my last county fair. It was just a couple weeks before I moved to Oklahoma to start college. As prep for the majors are in full swing I thought it was a good time to finally let go of my ego and share this post. Here you go, I hope this relives some of your stress and prepares you if you’re nearing the end of your junior showing career.
On an ordinary day I'd be asleep or in bed by 10pm, but it's fair week. At the end of the week, most of my stresses will be alleviated, wether or not that is a good thing is up to the judge. There are only a few things left for me to control, continuing my feeding, and working hair as much as possible to try and cover the FOMO type feeling that's growing deep inside me for not pushing harder all year.
It's hard, when it comes down to the nearing the finish line you look back and think wow were those hours doing something else worth it? If I have one piece of advice to give to younger showmen, go for it. Turn off the TV, give up a social event, go to the barn, go to that jackpot, sign up for that clinic, enter that contest.
Learn as much as you can, use your time and money wisely. Because one day you'll be faced with the realization that it's really hard to operate a show barn when you're going to be away at college. You can't run over to the barn to work hair, to rinse, to mix feed. I look back now and think "why did I want to go do that instead of going to the barn".
I don't know and that's not what matters, the barn has become my happy place over the past year. I loved it before but now that I realize it will soon be hours away, I've embraced it more. I've stopped pitying myself because I didn't have this, or couldn't afford that. Someone once told me that it doesn't matter what your barn looks like, it's what happens in it and what comes out of it that matters. Boy is that true, I've seen sone of the best livestock come from barns that lack curb appeal.
I will be the first one to tell you that my place is not anything special but I know that one day I am going to be able to come back and be proud that it all started there. You have to start somewhere and I know 20 years from now that my parents making this a project that would be self funded is something I'll be proud of. It taught me the most responsibility I've learned to this day, budgeting, how to work hard, and a lot of clever ideas have come from it.
Now to circle back, even though in a week my stress level will have lowered, I know I will miss every single jaw clenching moment I've had this year. I'll miss the evenings with sweat dripping out of my ball cap, and shoes and socks wet from filling buckets. I might even miss picking pens! I will say that the most comical thing I learned how to do this year is not being afraid of the dark, who would have thought an 18 year old was afraid of the dark. Don't ask my dad how many calls he got because I thought there was a "wolf" in the barnyard.