To most people, family vacation means toes in the sand, splashing in the pool or relaxing by a campfire. To us, family vacation means hard work, short nights and a “togetherness” rarely experienced in most families. To us, family vacation is A CATTLE SHOW.
Part of getting ready for a show is washing them everyday.
Since most of our friends are involved in the cattle business, it comes as no surprise that we prefer the crazy schedule of a cattle show – and most of them are here with us. But to others, it’s just plain crazy.
This week we will wash each of our seven animals once a day, typically well before sunrise. We will spend all day and into the night in the barn, including eating most of our meals with the cattle. We will try to catch naps in a chair, feed and water the cattle before we feed ourselves and comb their hair more than we comb our own. We will be visiting a spa, but we’re doing the work and the cattle are reaping the benefit.
The kids will participate in speech contests, talent contests, sales contests, judging, showmanship, quiz bowl and herdsmanship. They will walk animals through the ring in front of a judge for four days straight. We will finish our week on Saturday, only to wake before dawn on Sunday to drive 16 hours home.
Working together at the “cow spa.”
Many of our non-farming friends ask us why we put ourselves through this, and sometimes we ask the same question.
But then we see the confidence developed by speaking in front of a panel of judges, the entrepreneurial spirit ignited as an invention takes shape during the sales contest and the pride felt as they walk out of the ring, knowing that they’ve done their best. And though they might not always enjoy it, the work ethic developed through showing cattle can’t be topped.
We know this is how we want to raise our kids. This is how we were raised. We just hope someday our kids will thank us for these early mornings, late nights and beach-less vacations.
Only time will tell.
Fun and games at the show.