Every Ribbon Counts
When I was growing up, my mother made me keep all the ribbons I ever won. From school field days to my first major show, she would put everything I won in a box to keep. As I got a little older and started showing more, she made me put them up myself in boxes, and eventually graduated up to plastic tubs. When I was younger, I never really understood why my mom made me keep all those ribbons. The older I got, the more the reasons became clearer to me.
The first time I ever exhibited at a major show, I was dead last. I had a heifer named Freckles that I loved. Even though we kept her as a cow for year, she was never a show heifer. When we took her to State Fair of Texas,she placed last there, too. But, I didn’t care because I got to show my heifer and I loved it every minute. My mom told me we would keep this ribbon and put it up when we got home. Being so young, I was excited beyond belief.
Each ribbon I received taught me a lesson and it was something my mother only knew at the time.
Participation ribbons are handed out at many shows, especially larger events. When you’re young and just starting out, you’re excited to get anything! You really don’t understand what the ribbon means. As you get olde, you cringe when all you get a participation ribbon. You want that blue ribbon and eventually purple banner.
The participation ribbon has significant meanings. For the younger exhibitors, you need to show them that their efforts were worth something. Taking all the time needed to prepare to get into that show ring means something. This is a sign of hope and encouragement.
When you get older, participant ribbons shouldn’t make you cringe. They should be a reminder that being knocked down does not mean you are out. It’s a reminder that staying on top is something you have to constantly work for each day. This should drive everyone to do better. It should be a catalyst to do better on the highway of life.
Nothing represents being at the top of your game like a blue ribbon. Across the country, blue ribbons represent being number one. This is a hard task for many, and some never achieve this great feat. Getting out of class at a competition can be one of the toughest events in your day. That is one of the reasons that class winners receive a blue ribbon.
Blue ribbons are what people strive for in contests. Sometimes when you are second or third in a class, you don’t always mind those placing when you see what that first-place animal does at the next level of competition. Blue ribbons are important as they are a goal to set and strive for in life. It also is a reminder staying on top will take more hard work.
Even though banners are not ribbons, they are something everyone keeps. These are the most special awards in the livestock industry. I remember the first time I saw the huge banners hung over the champion steers in Houston. I knew that I one day wanted one. Now I never had champion steer in Houston. While did accumulate many other banners, trophies and buckles, this type of success for this was not overnight. Keeping the banners seems so much easier than keeping the participation ribbons. We always want to remember the successes in life and not the times when we lost.
The older I got, the more I understood my mother keeping all the ribbons. Looking back on the winning is always great. There is more to it though and it’s the life lessons. When you open those old boxes and look back on the times you had at those shows, you don’t always remember why you placed third. What you do remember is who was there with you. What you remember is the good times you had at a show or event.
Now that the ribbons are tucked away, and the banners are fading, look back on those times and bring back the best memories. It should also remind you of one of life’s key lessons. Success is a perpetual motion. You must always remember where you were, while continually looking forward.
“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” ~Helen Keller