Cattle Show Was Quite An Experience
I mentioned last week that I would be at the Mississippi State Fair this past weekend and I also mentioned that it was my first time to visit the fair. As an agricultural agent with livestock 4-H responsibilities, I am required to work the Cattle shows and any other livestock shows where I am needed. These work assignments include checking kids into classes, making sure kids have the correct animals and also helping with any safety issues (loose animals, wild animals, kids or adults in wrong places etc.).
When I was a kid growing up in Yalobusha County, I rode horses at horse shows and showed cattle and pigs from the time I was old enough to walk through my senior year in high school. So although I am new to the 4-H agent side of showing, I have a good bit of experience with livestock shows. I have to share an experience with you from the state fair this year.
In the livestock show world there are the animal shows, which judge the animal according to their breed specifics, and then there is showmanship, which judges how well the kid can show that animal in any situation. To be specific the definition of Cattle Showmanship is “Preparing and displaying a cattle project to its best advantage, highlighting its strong points and minimizing its weaker points.” Characteristics of a good showman are “The exhibitor and animal are clean and well presented; aware of when the judging is and is at the ring promptly, follows instructions issued by judge, clerk, or ring steward; Courteous at all times to the judge and fellow showman.
Sunday night, October 9, everybody in the livestock barn witnessed this to perfection. Tyler Conrad of Desoto County 4-H, son of Cindy and Shannon Conrad, was in the 18 year old group showing his 1,800 pound Santa Gertrudis Bull named “Harry.”
Those of you that know anything about cattle know that a two year-old, 1800 pound bull that has been in the pasture with cows can pretty much do what he wants to when he wants to no matter how calm he is or how much he has been worked with. Tyler came in leading his bull middle of the class in a class of 10. Tyler was well dressed, his bull was well groomed, and things were going really good until Harry decided he didn’t want to be there. He started acting up, just moving around at first, then actually trying to hook and push Tyler around the ring. Now as I stated before the job of ringman/agent is to keep the safety of the participants first, so the ring men tried to help with his bull with fear in their eyes. Tyler never quit trying to contain his bull, keeping him away from other participants, never letting go of the bull, never showing fear and always staying positive. Finally Tyler’s mom came out in the ring and helped him take the bull out of the ring back into the stalls. Tyler never once fussed, or lost his cool, or stomped his feet in anger or frustration. This was Tyler’s last time to participate in 4-H Showmanship because of his age. After putting his bull in the stall and calming him down, Tyler came back to the ring to congratulate his competitors and see the results. The judge started ranking each competitor in the class and got down to first place and walked over to Tyler and shook his and said, “Congratulations, you showed everybody here tonight what showmanship is!”
I almost forgot to mention Tyler Conrad has Down syndrome.
If you plan on ordering cheese this year from Mississippi State now is the time to do so. Cheese orders can be placed online at msucheese.com or just call the office at 662-675-2730.