Life After the Show Ring
Stock show kids have spent years, months, weeks and hours in the barn. There have been countless trips around show rings and thousands of miles in the back of truck heading to the next event. These are the times that many of us cherish and love about our childhoods. Stock show kids also very active in 4H and FFA going to meetings, leadership events and maintaining their record books. Memories like these are priceless and the lessons learned last everyone a lifetime.
When it comes time to graduate from high school, many people will leave their show careers behind. There are people out there that may never step into a show ring again after they graduate and finish school. hen we have people who will go on the maintain their family operations. Some will even continue to show and exhibit livestock at the local, state and national shows. Depending on where you fall within this spectrum, everyone can and will have a great successful life beyond the show ring.
We are going to look at the afterlife of the show ring in a few different aspects, seeing what you can do after you finish showing, opportunities out there and achieving more in life.
Where a life of showing can take you.
There is a thrill and exhilaration that only comes from stepping into a show ring. Everyone waiting to see how the class will sort out and the anticipation of the judges’ decision. We can either leave the ring thrilled, satisfied or disappointed. What we learn is these are the same reactions to many events in our lives as we grow to be adults. The biggest lesson the showring teaches everyone is defeat. Winners will tell you that they have lost a lot more shows than they have won. There are kids that come out of the showring just ecstatic at that the opportunity to show. Most people start to challenge themselves to improve and be a winner in the show ring. Lessons from showing and stock show life can carry your through life.
Dreaming is an attribute of many people, especially the young. Lofty ideas and dreams can range from being head cheerleader, student council president, or winning the purple banner at your favorite major show. You can strive for any dream you want and achieve it. The show ring allows you to keep chasing dreams one show at a time while teaching you valuable life skills. Helping others, clean stalls or care for a dying animal. Those chores are precursors to a huge number of jobs and careers. The simple lesson is hard work pays off when you are chasing your dreams.
One of the best learning experiences you have as a show ring kid is to think outside the box. Winning means you take chances and experience new paths in life. The learning activities, leadership skills and team building skills from leadership groups are a solid foundation that provides everyone great building blocks for life. It takes a ton of courage and grit to drag a 1500-pound heifer through green shavings. It takes extreme patience and talent to paint a portrait for the art shows. These are the traits that give you a life beyond the showring.
What careers will be available
Showing can open doors to a huge variety of careers in life. When I was a graduate of college I wondered what would really happen and where will I end up in life. There were many areas of agriculture I was interested in working and just knew I would finally get that chance. One of the biggest ambitions I had was to work for a livestock association. With my background I thought I would love working for those organizations and helping others. While my path in life did not take me to work for a livestock association, it did allow me to work in a life of helping others. It allowed me to succeed in many of the careers I have held as an adult. Being a team player, leading by example and putting in a hard day’s work does pay off.
Here are a few examples of careers that people can pursue when they stop showing livestock:
This might seem somewhat obvious since hopefully you get to spend some time in-front of the backdrop at a livestock show. Photography can be a whole lot more than just taking backdrop photos. Being a good photographer can lead to owning your own business doing portrait work, weddings and special occasions.
A lot of kids grow up learning how to weld on their farm or in school. Welding is an invaluable trade that will always be in demand. Welding is a skill and trade that can create wonderful lives for people of all walks of life. Stock show kids normally learn to weld when they are helping their parents do repairs around the farm or in shop class. Either way this is a skill that can help and carry you through a lot in life.
This might seem like an obvious profession or life that the showring will lead to. Many people go on to be an Agriculture Science Teacher or even a County Extension Agent. These are vital roles to the youth of your country and smart, talented, and hardworking people are needed for these roles each year.
Learning from your experiences to achieve more in life
While in the ring the best lessons people learn is defeat. You can be at the bottom of the pile and come away with more experience and dedication. Livestock people also know what it takes to get ahead. You apply the same principles in work life and in turn, become successful as well in that ring of life.
Showing livestock allows people young and old to be a perpetual learning cycle. Every time you step into a show ring you learn something new. Every day when you step into a job, you also learn something new. Showing provides you confidence, lifelong friends and endless opportunities. Life beyond the showring can be full of ups, downs and exciting adventures, but it’s worth it all.
Cover Photo Courtesy of B Photography and Designs