Christian. BoyMom. Farmer's Wife. Marathon Runner. Ag Professional. Bourbon Lover.
Advocate for all things agriculture and rural.
Advocate for all things agriculture and rural.
Tunis Sheep Hampshires heed
11/16/2017 4 Comments
Early Releases and Empty Aisles: Is this the Beginning of the End to the #StockShowLife?
The North American International Livestock Exposition is wrapping up and as is customary, my newsfeed is filled with pictures from the green shavings.
There's an emerging theme to this year's photos and posts- one of emptiness. The show introduced a new, shortened schedule for the first time in years, drastically reducing the number of animals and people that held over to the end.
Those exhibitors still left are posting pictures of empty barn aisles and vacant ringside seats, even while Supreme Champions are being selected.
One of my fondest memories growing up is the yearly trip I took with my dad and brother to the Ohio Suffolk Sale. Back then, a sale was more than just a sale and there were no computers involved. We met people. We went to dinner with people, we socialized. We made lifelong friends.
We actually talked to the breeders of the stock we wanted to buy. I remember one of the top breeders in the country hoping into a pen of ewe lambs with me to help me handle and sort through their differences. I learned more in ten minutes watching him than I could learn in ten hours watching online sales.
The social experience of that sale - and all the other shows and sales - was the driver behind us returning to the show ring year after year.
In fact, it was at a sheep show in Laramie, WY, where I first met a Missouri farm boy that would change my life forever.
When I followed him to college, my sheep came too. We started showing at multiple state fairs, sleeping in barns or the trailer, occasionally a Red Roof Inn.
We spent a few years chasing banners this way, always wrapping the year up with a grueling, exhausting long-week in Louisville, KY.
We loved every second. My 20 year old self couldn't imagine anything more important. And I swore that lifestyle would never change.
And then... it did.
We graduated. We returned to his family farm. He started farming for a living in a state where the crop is rarely out by early November. I started a career where all chaos sets in in early November. Within a few years we threw a few kids into the mix.
And before I realized it, years had passed and we hadn't been there. We hadn't walked on those green shavings because our schedules just couldn't make it work. We visited for a day or two. We even sent one or two down if they were good enough to justify the cost of paying someone else. But we both knew we would never be able to do the entire thing again.
And then, this year, the schedule changed. We became aware a little too late for a big change this year, but a small fire was lit back inside. It was like we were being invited back in.
Like someone said, "It's OK if you can't make the whole thing, we still want you to come and compete. We still want to include you."
Now don't misunderstand me. The pictures of empty barns and vacant seats are crushing to me. I hate that someone might be handed that purple banner in a Supreme Drive with only a faint echo of applause.
But, I love that it gives so many families a chance to be apart of it once again. I love that show and sale organizers are recognizing that costs have increased and schedules are more demanding and this new world we live in is different than it was 50 years ago.
I applaud them for attempting to try something new to revitalize the events that make our industry what it is.
Now we have some major challenges. As a culture we have shifted to an experienced based mindset. We have no choice but to continue to make an experience unparalleled to anything someone can get at home. We have to do everything we can to foster those relationships, mentorships and family bonding time. And we have to do it in less time, with more packed schedules, than we have ever done it before.
That means our sales, and our shows, are going to look and feel different. Or at least, if we are going to stay relevant they are.
My heart aches that my boys will not ever experience the exhilarating, exhausting 10 day run known to so many of us simply as "Louisville".
But on the other hand, I am confident that our industry will collectively come together to create an elevated experience that better aligns with the world we live in.
And maybe that new experience will find a way to exclude the "Louisville crud". Although on that I am less optimistic.
11/16/2017 08:12:08 pm
Breaks my heart a little, as a young girl we were taught that we showed and then we watched others show. To support others to make ourselves better and to meet people! When we traveled to shows we interacted with all types and breeds! We met so many people! Hope that doesn't change for kids either
11/18/2017 09:14:49 am
I used to enjoy the week plus stay in Louisville, but now with job obligations and the overall expense of that endeavor, a shortened schedule is a much welcomed change. Our cattle are always happy to get home. Heated barns and ever changing conditions in the tie outs are really hard on their health.
11/19/2017 04:50:58 pm
This year was a learning experience for everybody. With this busy world we live in, staying a week at a time with livestock is not an option for many that would like to participate. I think all that were involved in running the shows have taken notes of what can be done better next year. It will be a few years before they once again get the shows running again like a well oiled machine, but in the end, I really think things will work better by shortening the stay time. We, as exhibitors, just need to be patient. Good things will come.
10/27/2022 07:39:49 pm
I really want to thank Dr Emu for saving my marriage. My wife really treated me badly and left home for almost 3 month this got me sick and confused. Then I told my friend about how my wife has changed towards me. Then she told me to contact Dr Emu that he will help me bring back my wife and change her back to a good woman. I never believed in all this but I gave it a try. Dr Emu casted a spell of return of love on her, and my wife came back home for forgiveness and today we are happy again. If you are going through any relationship stress or you want back your Ex or Divorce husband you can contact his whatsapp +2347012841542 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Leave a Reply.
Kate Lambert grew up in northern Illinois, not on a farm but active in FFA and showing livestock.
All Ag Industry Conservation Cooking Cover Crops Crop Farming Farmer's Wife Farm Takeover Fertilizers Food Safety Gardening GMOs Hunting And Fishing Lamb Livestock Local Farmers Modern Farming Mom #My60Acres Parenting Politics Pumpkin Recipes Recipes Running Rural Lifestyle Sheep Showing Livestock Sunday Struggles #SustainabilitySundays #UptownUploads