Thursday, November 19, 2009

Giving Gratitude... to the livestock judging gods

Livestock Judging once was my life...

A lot of people wonder how I got from Canada to south of the border. There was probably two reasons 1. I could purse an Agricultural Communications degree, which wasn't available back home, and 2. Livestock Judging. Two of my good friends, Robyn and Laura, had both traveled south to compete on college judging teams, and told me that is where I needed to be. They were right.

I ended up at Butler Community College in Kansas. Where I was on a team with 11 other kids, and none of us were from Kansas. Those other 11 people, and my coach, quickly became my family. We did everything together, traveled the country, had family meals, spent holidays together. After two years at Butler I made the move to Kansas State. I really couldn't see myself going anywhere else. Here my team was made up of four of my old judging teammates and seven other individuals who used to be the competition. Again, these people became my best friends. I have learned more life lessons in a judging van or from evaluating a set of hogs, sheep or cattle than from anything else.

This past week was the National Livestock Judging Contest in Louisville. It was fun to talk to some of my friends that were wrapping up their college judging careers. They knew their lives would be changing, because when they woke up on Tuesday things would be different. There would be no more practices, no more van rides, no more contests. There would be no reason for their teams to get together, unless they made the effort. And their would only be one national champion. Everything that I, and now they had dedicated themselves to for the past four years would be over. You feel lost.

At the banquet, I was there as a sponsor from the Association. Looking out across the room, and knowing that all those kids went through the same blood, sweet and tears to be seated their that morning is pretty empowering. We are all connected in some sense.

It boils down to this - I am grateful I was on a livestock judging team.

Giving gratitude is part of my 101 in 1001 list. I find out more about the 101 in 1001 challenge click here. 


  1. Amen!! I will never forget my Judging career!! I will also never forget how lost I was when it was all over after Louisville. Infact, when I met my now husband that was our first connection, he had judged for South Dakata State and I for Mississippi State! :)

  2. AGG! teamroper is also Paula at the Broken Y.

  3. I was never a part of FFA or Livestock Judging. Have friends that were and feel the same way you do. I am happy that you have had such a wonderful experience.

  4. I'm SO proud of you! Our amazing opportunity to be educated and livestock judge has helped shape us. What a blessing!


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