An Open Letter To Stock Show Dads

An Open Letter To Stock Show Dads

Dear dad,

Your work ethic is second to none and I am proud to walk in your footsteps. While I’m confident your plans are larger than waking up earlier than you’d like to help me with projects before accomplishing everything you scheduled for your day, know your sacrifices do not go unnoticed.

You hold me to a high standard and personally carry the weight of my successes and failures and for that I will forever be grateful.

There isn’t another person on this planet who could ever be as patient when explaining something for the thousandth time or who could following behind me, fixing everything I break, and/or accidentally run over. Even when it wasn’t something you could weld back to its original glory … sorry about that, by the way.

You’re raising me to be strong, smart, independent and self-sufficient, you know.

You’ve comforted me through bad relationships, difficult conversations, and, hardest of all, the loss of the show calf we worked so hard to raise.

A post shared by Aaron Lay (@aalay22) on

A post shared by @showstocklife on

A post shared by Lana Wallpe (@ibcfarmgirl) on

I can’t imagine navigating this world without you as my example. You are compassionate, yet frank; firm, yet gentle; and somehow stoic through chaos.

When life throws me a lemon, you’re the first to offer a solution fitting to my temper, which by the way, I get from you.

Thank you for showing me the art of understanding and discernment. While I have a long way to go, your guidance is instrumental in building the foundation for a lifetime of solid decisions. The pats on the back, the ”atta kids”, the “proud of yous” are subtle, but somehow wash over me. Someday, maybe, I can have this same affect on others.

Of all the lessons you hope to pass on, thank you, most of all, for teaching me the true meaning of respect. My biggest fear is letting you down, and in the back of my mind I will constantly ask myself what you would do in the same situation. You are a virtuous lighthouse, while I am dodging rocks along the shore.

For a lot of people, you are a scarce commodity, but for me you’re a constant. While Dairy Queen pit stops and long conversation on the road from show-to-show may seem insignificant, they’re the best part of my days. When I say my prayers, I make sure to tell God thank you for putting me here. I am truly blessed to be here, riding shotgun, playing farm in the dirt on the floor of the tractor. Thank you for making me your partner-in-crime.

Oh, the stories we could tell mom … but won’t.

You are irreplaceable. Thank you for having my back, even when I wasn’t ready to see it.



A Recipe for the perfect Stock Show Dad

The Runner Family, Macomb, Illinois

The Runner Family, Macomb, Illinois

Prep time: 26-52 years
Serves: A lifetime of hugs, tough love, words of affirmation, and life lessons


  • 1 refillable mug (kept in freezer) for drink of choice
  • 7 lbs heavy-starched denim (about 3-5 pair)
  • 3 c patience (be very precise with this measurement as too much will keep him in the armchair forever)
  • 2-3 drops of dad-joke extract
  • A dash of wisdom
  • 3 tbs answers to life’s questions
  • ⅛ tsp ability to cry
  • A pinch of tough love

Begin by crossing arms and rolling eyes. This allows tensions to rise. Next, add starched jeans and rest.

In long-term relationship, combine patience and dad-joke extract. Whisk until thick mustache forms. Sift together a dash of wisdom and answers to life’s questions. This creates the perfect ratio of figure-it-out-yourself and I’ve-been-there-before. Add to mixture.

Finally, pour in ability to cry mixed a pinch of tough love. Stir until you have thoroughly mixed emotions.

Move mixture to larger home with wife and kids. Serve in frozen mug.

**Contents may be easily stressed out during show season. Handle with care.


Livestock Showing, explained

Livestock Showing, explained

It's Never Too Late to Start Showing

It's Never Too Late to Start Showing