My last show, last day of class, last night in my apartment, last Wednesday night with my S/S family, last drive home from Fargo, last night out with the girls, last judging contest...the list is going to be endless. I have come to that time in my life when most things will be bittersweet.
Two weekends ago I experienced a big last for me--my last show ever as a junior exhibitor. Ever.
Surprisingly, it was an AMAZING way to end what has become my life in the last 15 years.
The Minnesota Junior Spring Classic (MJSC) is one of the largest junior shows in Minnesota. This year we had over 265 head of cattle and 190 youth participate. I know all these stats because I was able to be a committee member for this year's MJSC and got to witness all the behind the scene action that goes into a cattle show. Let me warn you, it is not as easy as it looks! Especially, when your show is growing so rapidly each year.
- In 2008, we had around 120 head of cattle and two rings and the show was over by noon.
- In 2009, we had approximately 190 head of cattle and one rings and the ended by 3 pm.
- In 2010, we had 265 head of cattle and one ring and the show ended at 7 pm.
Last night, we had a conference call to wrap-up the show and we had a ton to talk about and things will definitely have to change in the future to compensate for our growth, but I think everything will only help our show. Luckily, I was able to be on the committee with some really great people (even Marko) and though it is a lot of work it was a lot of fun.
Seeing that I am going to be old (22) soon, this was also my last show as a junior. I will admit that my family isn't very active in the junior program and instead we are very active in 4-H shows. Hence, my emotional goodbye to 4-H after my last state fair three years ago! :) I did manage to convince Jason to let me pull some heifers through the ring since then and have continued to be his wing woman at the fitting chute. We are getting to be a pretty good team and definitely enjoy working together! Sure, I think this happiness has just came about in the last year or two...but I like the switch :)
MJSC has always been one of my favorite shows to attend--it is the perfect way to start our summer show season. Plus, ever since I was little I have wanted to win the chute that the Champion Senior Showperson wins. This is always one of the most competitive showmanship contests in the state because everyone is required to stay until the show ends and because of that everyone tries their luck at showmanship. The winner wins a brand new chute donated by Sullivan's Supply, a embroidered chair by Sanctified Design and a traveling trophy. This trophy has the name's of some of the best showman in the state--it's a pretty cool piece to have in your house!
After trying for who knows how many years, I finally won! It was a perfect way to end my junior career! I was super excited and I am so thankful that I had an opportunity to show one last year! Jas was pretty pumped too because we needed a new chute! ;)
As I drove back up to school the next day, I couldn't help but to think about all the amazing people I have met because of showing cattle. While not everybody loves Dakota County (the best in in Minnesota :) ) as much as me, I personally feel I was pretty blessed to be part of such a competitive county 4-H program. I have this great "show family" that I have grown up with, some of who have become my very best friends. I can't imagine spending my summers any other way. Chicky and Blake and the boys, Fox's, the Hawkin's clan, Marthaler's, my best friend Miss Alyssa Bigelow, Mark & Matt, the Donnelly boys, Jason and Dad ...the list goes on and on. I have taken more road trips with these people than I can count and I have loved every bit of it! My family "vacations" have always been to a cattle show--Aksarben, Beef Expo, Sioux Falls, Brooking, North Star Classic, FFA Show, Open Class, 4-H, MJSC, Rochester--pretty much everywhere important! :) Plus, I have met so many great people and honestly, nothing is better than spending an afternoon at a cattle show.
Truly, this has been the best project I could have ever got involved in. It has fostered my passion for agriculture and taught me so many valuable life skills. Most of my successes have been because of this industry and the people that are part of it. I owe so much to the people who have I spent the last 15 summers of my life with and the fun we have had in the cattle barn on the show box could never be replaced.
MJSC might have been my last junior show, but Jason said he will still let me show in open class (what a generous brother) and I will still be there to "oversee" his projects. And sooner or later (like 10 years at least) I will be getting my own kids up to rinse the cattle and put them in the cooler. Actually, if Mark had his way we would adopt a kid who could start showing for us now but don't worry, I promise you he is not getting his way! :)
Alright, I have my lovely roommate (Cait, there is your "shout out") waiting for me so I have to run! Remember tomorrow is Friday--the weekend is ALMOST here! Talk to you soon...I promise to write again soon!