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
The below piece is written as follow up to a post that was titled "Stock Shows: How whining about cheaters is worse than the cheaters" that was published on this blog on 01/14/15. The post can be read by clicking HERE.
There are so many issues I would like to address stemming from the comments that many of you were kind enough to share -- the definition of cheating; the reality of politics; the idea that publicly accusing a CHILD of illegal practices just because you suspect, heard, or assume is NOT OK.
But I won’t address those at this time (I promise to in the future if you promise to come back for the discussion!). I won’t address them because it will distract from the point.
If you read my original post titled “Stock Shows: How whining about cheaters is worse than the cheaters” and thought I was condoning cheating – you need to read it again.
If you read the post and thought I was claiming cheating does not exist – you need to read it again.
If you read the post and thought you needed to send me a list of examples in how the champion animal from you county was exhibited by a cheating kid – you need to read it again.
The post has NOTHING to do with kids who are actually cheating. The post has to do with a choice. A choice every parent of an honest exhibitor will make, whether they realize it or not.
When you child walks out of the show ring having placed anywhere lower than anticipated, as a parent you will address that. You will have two options in which to frame your reaction:
1. Congratulate and find the positive
"Great work Freddy, that was a tough class! I am so impressed you and Fluffy were able to do that well with so many experienced kids and awesome animals!! I could tell you were getting a little tired, we will have to practice with Fluffy some more to make it easier for both of you!
The judge really struggled on what to do with so many nice animals to sort! Now run over there and tell Kate she did an awesome job and see if they want to go to lunch afterwards to celebrate her win, I’ll buy!"
2. Excuse and find the negative
"What a joke! Don’t sweat it, the only reason you were stuck in 5th hole was because that kid in second bought his animal from the judge’s nephew (didn’t you see the nephew tail him into the ring?), and that animal that won is at least 60 days older. Jack told me that family overages everything.
Joe told me that the kid who was in third got caught somewhere a few years ago using illegal feed and someone saw them in the barn late last night. The girl in fourth, her dad spends a lot of money on everything so you'll never get around her anyway.
You really should have won that class hands down but when you have all these parents spending all this money and every one of these kids cheating, you’re never going to get around them. Heck that one kid even uses a cooler to grow hair on his animal and him and his parents spend hours a week just grooming the dang thing. We don’t have time for that.
But we aren't like THOSE people. We are honest, GOOD people so don’t you feel bad about losing because we are BETTER than those people in front of you. We aren't here for the ribbons anyways. They will do ANYTHING to win a class."
Who do you sound most like? Should the conversation between you and your friend or you and your spouse possibly be different than the conversation between you and your child?
The original post deals with all of the reasons option 2 is so damaging to our kids and the industry and encourages us all to try and utilize option 1 more frequently.
(I realize that many of you will still feel the need to inform me of all the ways that people cheat and I am simply wrong on my assumption that most people are good and honest. Even if your family is the only family in the entire state that is following the rules, consider if constantly pointing that fact out to your child is beneficial.)
1/16/2015 01:08:04 pm
Kate, You really DO get it. I have seen several people who stood last as kids say they would never let their own kids stand at the bottom. They ask lots of questions and are working their asses off. Their kids are now winning.
1/17/2015 01:56:24 am
1/23/2015 07:54:02 pm
We learned along time ago that we can't afford the instant q
1/24/2015 12:34:20 am
It amazes me how people can't see the positive in the show ring. We win, we get beat, but at the end of the day we are raising kids. I always tell my kids after we placed poorly and are disappointed that "we just have to work harder next time." Talking trash on families, judges and show officials is ridiculous. While you are talking some one else is working hard to beat your butt!
A 4-H youth specialist
2/23/2015 05:28:00 pm
While I agree with most of the comments and the commentary, what I see missing is comments on the learning that takes place in areas other than the show ring. As long as parents, families, breeders, etc., put so much emphasis on what happens in the show ring, you are not helping families and the public put emphasis on the actual education of our young people. I know the show ring is a culturally important part of 4-H and FFA, but putting all the emphasis on competition, and what it teaches, is just a small part of what young people can actually learn in those programs. If the adults in their lives put more emphasis on the development and progression of "life skills", such as financial management, decision-making, goal-setting, service learning, social skills, teamwork, etc, our youth will be much more prepared for life in the real world. Face it, as adults, not many will be still showing livestock; but they will need "life skills" to help them navigate the world, so I implore you...please focus on how to raise competent young people and future leaders, and focus less on the show ring outcomes. We have real opportunities in our day-to-day interactions with our youth to make a difference, than to just focus on the lessons learned in the show ring.
7/24/2015 02:05:47 am
Kids are going to learn the same whether they have a good animal, or a cheap one. The only thing tight ass parents are teaching their kids by buying a cheap animal is that it's ok to be a loser. Can't see how many times families can't 'afford' an animal quality enough to win- yet have a garage full of ATVs and UTVs, a barn full of boats and campers, and a yard full of other 'toys'...
7/20/2015 07:41:32 am
As I have a young Son entering into the Show Pig circuit and I have seen thru my Cousins success in the show ring. People will claim you cheated one way or another. That fact is, you can't claim someone a cheater until you have seen that 4-H/FFA kid work or not work with his animal at home. I can tell you all good showman work their butts off at home before show day. Look around...which kids are winning? Not the ones who play sports on a traveling team or leave for long summer vacations with their family. No...they are home working their project. So before you can claim cheating..know who your taking about. And to tell your own kid that the winners cheated...really?? Even if the Winner did cheat some how...Let it go karma will catch up with them. Teach your kids with hard work and a little luck you too can be the winner! And never cheat ever!
7/22/2015 07:57:13 am
Love both your articles. That is precisely why I don't have alot of friends...I refuse to get caught up in "ir". I refuse to let my kids get caught up in it.
2/11/2016 02:05:35 pm
My kids have been out of the show ring for more than 10 years, yet I see some things never change. My daughter stood 31st in a class of 32, beat slap silly by a big Simi heifer that outweighed her by 20 times. She walked out with the biggest smile on her face because there "was meat below me, Daddy. Both of my kids were fairly successful in the ring because of the time spent to make winning possible, not guaranteed. In the most competitive state in the country, there are kids learning the most important lessons in life because they want to be successful, and have the parents, CEA, or Ag Teacher there to help them. My kids are very successful today because they were involved in the Jr and Open livestock show life. And I'm proud of them.
3/6/2016 02:02:00 pm
My Dad always ask us what did you learn. I COME from five generations of 4-H and FFA. And showing. Make the best better.
3/20/2017 01:27:49 pm
My opinion isn't worth two cents, but I honestly cannot remember who had what placing in about 95% of the stock shows I have attended for over thirty years - but I do remember the life-long friendships I have made thanks to showing livestock and my involvement in the show ring arena.
7/24/2017 04:39:48 pm
Cheating is not griping about how you placed or got out spent. Cheating is using an air pump under the skin to smooth out natural deficiencies in an animals. Adding thickness, shape, or volume to an area of your animal. It drives me NUTS when we stand second to a lamb that still has needle marks on the inside of its hip, outside of the leg, and over its top. Or maybe it just got attacked by wasps on its top and butt in the trailer on the way to the show. Here is the real news: if your not doing it.... you WONT WIN!!!! These lamb jocks have ruined what started as a family outing. Caldex and bicycle pumps have sank our chances to have an opportunity to honestly win. USDA PLEASE HELP!!!!
7/29/2017 07:37:07 pm
1/13/2018 07:52:38 am
Wow! Great job in blaming those who complain about the cheaters...yes, and that is normally how those that cheat the rules respond to negativity. I'm not in the stock show circle but have show horses for 30+ years. One quote from someone who recently was caught and sanctioned for cheating was made months before...she critized those for complaining about the training barn...well low and behold after she was reported and was being investigated...she complained about the organizations short comings...wow...turnabout is FairPlay. Cheating is very prominent in the winners circles, regardless of the discipline and you can't deny it or turn your head and ignore. It's just sad that those who work the hardest with the least are the ones that suffer the most!
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Kate Lambert grew up in northern Illinois, not on a farm but active in FFA and showing livestock.
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