Last weekend marked a full year I had spent washing, blow-drying, working with, traveling, and showing my Maine-Anjou heifer “April.” I am so blessed to have had this experience with such a fun-loving animal that taught me so much along the way. As I reflect back on the year-long adventure there are five main things that “April” taught me that I would like to share with all of you!
- Patience: Bringing home a stubborn little calf proved to be more work than I originally expected. I had never worked with an animal that had such a different personality as this little calf. She soon developed the name “Princess” because she would only eat out of a blue pan, she only walked in one direction around my practice show ring, and she only liked being worked with my lime green show stick. To say the least, she developed her own “wants and needs” as did I, learning to be patient when working with her to make sure she cooperated for me.
- Hard work does payoff: Showing her throughout Ohio’s winter show circuit, every weekend brought new experiences. I finally knew the two of us had developed a relationship between showman and animal when she finally listened and cooperated at our Beef Expo allowing us to make the cut into the next round of showmanship classes. This was a turning point in our relationship and helped me realize my patience and cooperation with her had paid dividends.
- The importance of friendships: The most rewarding aspects of showing cattle are the friendships that develop throughout the show stock experience. Traveling the winter show circuit allowed me the opportunity to meet and connect with many people that I now call my life-long friends!
- The importance of family: Showing cattle is a family activity to me and I am so blessed to come from such a supportive family and showing the past year has allowed me to bond with my parents and older brother more. My dad and I picked “April” out together as a calf and traveled to the majority of the shows together throughout the year. Getting to spend this “daddy-daughter” time together is something irreplaceable. Driving in snow storms, getting lost taking back roads because of the directions from the GPS, and spending a week together at the Junior Heifer Show in Kentucky are memories that will never be forgotten.
- The unbreakable bond between a girl and her heifer: Throughout the year, I have been able to create an unbreakable bond between “April” and I. What an amazing year it was filled with times of learning, family, tears of defeat, smiles of wins, and most importantly a “book full of memories and experiences” gained over the past year; showing this heifer has truly been such a reward.
I have my family to thank for driving me the many miles over Ohio and Kentucky to fulfill my dreams of showing the same heifer for a full year; this year would not have been possible without their loving and supportive attitudes! I want to dedicate this blog to my “Princess” who has allowed me to have an experience of a life-time and taught me so much along the way.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving!