Ohio FFA State Sentinel (and fellow Buckeye) Mallary Caudill shared a really great message this evening, so I thought I would share it with all of you. In advance of our Hardin County Fair, I thought it was especially important.
The question is often presented to me as a county fair exhibitor, “Why 4-H/FFA? Why do you show?” While there are several different reasons and responses for these questions, but one stands out as the most important to me.
10 years ago, I walked into the ring for the very first time, weighing in at approximately 60 lbs, probably half the weight of my lamb. I was all decked out in my jeans, cowgirl boots, and a sparkly belt that weighed my pants down more than held them up. I was completely new to the show ring, nervous, and next to clueless.
Just a few weeks ago, I walked out of that same show ring for the last time. Now, I would not consider myself anywhere close to “the best of the best,” as there are many who are far more skilled and experienced in the sheep world than I will ever be. But I did walk into the ring more confident and grown from rookie debut ten years prior. While I did grow physically, I grew in so many other ways as well. I have grown from a shy, small girl to someone who has gained so much from all the life lessons and skills taught in the barn and show ring.
So you’ve read 3 paragraphs of this post so far, and you still have yet to know “the reason” that I mentioned in the first. If you take another look at the first photo, you’ll notice a little guy in a white polo. At the time, I didn’t know him from Adam, but little did I know, he would become one of my closest friends. In the second picture, is the same kid (just a little bit older).
This ‘kid’s’ name is Jimmy, and I consider him one of my closest pals. From growing up competing in the show ring, to FFA contests, to talking about our future aspirations and goals, Jimmy’s always been there in all the ‘big moments.’
So that’s THE reason for 4-H and FFA that’s the most important to me, the fact that I walked into the show ring for the first time alongside the same one I walked out with. Two kids, two different dreams, two examples of the impact these two organizations had on us each as individuals. They’ve made us who we are today and neither of us would trade that for all the money in the world.
Oh yea, and those “future aspirations” I mentioned? We are both living them out today, (which is so cool!)
It’s not for the banners, bragging rights, or sale check that I showed. Hey, if it was for that reason, I wasn’t very successful, because my trophy shelves and bank account aren’t much fuller than when we started. I showed because of the life lessons and treasured friendships that will last a lifetime.