When it comes to being a part of the beef industry, there are multiple facets that one can be a part of; the beef producer, the advocate, and the shower. Most youth would agree that the best part of showing cattle is not the colorful rope halters or show sticks, the daily washing and blow drying, or the sparkles on the jeans as a part of the wardrobe, (although all fun pieces of showing) but the facet of showing the animal that so much time and dedication is put in to. There is no better feeling than walking into the ring and having your steer or heifer behave and do everything you have practiced at home; and taking home a ribbon, trophy, or banner always adds an extra sparkle and rewarding memory to the experience. However, there is more to beef cattle than just showing. One must take the time to watch and listen to effectively learn and improve upon their skills and tactics.
Sparkles, fancy boots, and added color are just fun extras of showing cattle, the real fun is showing off the daily hard work once you walk into the show ring.
This past week and upcoming week are filled with days spent at the Ohio State Fair working a putt putt course that helps to give scholarships to college students, as well as watching beef cattle shows and talking to fair goers and youth about the beef industry.
As I walked into senior showmanship the other morning, I could not help but notice the array of younger kids standing ringside or sitting in the bleachers watching their older peers and the judge as they battled for the top showman position. I have learned throughout my years of showing that you can learn just as much outside the ring than you can standing in it.
From the point of view of looking at the situation of each individual showman from an outward appearance, you have the ability to watch others and nitpick on their showmanship tactics and skills and learn what you yourself should do or try to help make your show animal look better for the judge. By standing or sitting back, you also have the ability to see multiple showers and animals and watch and compare, as well as learn what the particular judge judging the show likes and does not like. It is important as you watch, listen, take notes, and learn to keep open perspective of how others show. All animals entering the show ring have different personalities and were raised in different environments, and the same goes for the showers. Some showman learned different tactics than others and while watching a show it is most important to simply study how other showman work around the space in the ring and keep their animal calm to show their best to the judge.
Youth of the beef industry taking the time to attend a show clinic to learn some tips and tricks prior to showing their animals.
Taking the time to watch, at whatever age of shower, parent, or spectator you might be, allows you to BE THE JUDGE. This is one of the most important parts of watching a show. You have the ability to watch the same show as the judge and formulate your own reasons and opinions for placing the way you choose, and by doing this you learn what is most important to you while showing and then as a shower yourself you can start implementing that piece. It is also important to really take the time to listen to the judges’ reasons for placing the way he did because you learn what he is and is not looking for in the showers.
Youth of all ages can engage in shows and learn from watching others and listening to the judge give reasons for his placements. Taking the time to stop, watch, and listen can really pay off in the end!
The best way to learn is to watch and listen multiple times, as well as learn to be the judge yourself. It is amazing how much one can learn by taking the time to step away from the halter and take the time to stand ringside.