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Jessica Kimbro: Why showing livestock matters

The barns have been cleaned out, stalls torn down, and trailers are headed for the house. Market animals have been sold, and breeding stock are ready to hit the pastures. Tack boxes are getting restocked, trailers will be cleaned out and the ribbons and trophies will be displayed. With that, as we close out the first of many major livestock shows in Texas, there are some things on many of our minds.

Showing livestock doesn’t come with a cheap price tag. First, you have to purchase the animal and feed it. Then there’s the long nights in a motel, the meals on the go and the snacks and beverages that filled the coolers. The diesel bill and how it probably rivals the Sullivan’s bill, the entry fees, the registration fees and the veterinarian check fees.

But can you put a price on the life skills a child gains while showing livestock?

The child who forges friendships that span species and states. The way parents can let little kids run around the barn, knowing a community of friends are watching over their well-being? The trust that is developed between a youth and their animal.

Showing livestock is more than just a great feeling or a number in the budget.

Many can say the 4-H Fable hits home — it’s not just about a ribbon, the budget or the feeling. Many are having some tough talks on the way home, regardless of the color of ribbon you collected at the stock show.

There are 10 things every successful showman needs to take to heart:

1. Win or lose, always show class.

2. Teamwork is a must, don’t be afraid to help others.

3. Nobody wants to hear how good you are, just show them in the ring.

4. When things get tough, stay positive.

5. Practice like you’ve never won, show like you’ve never lost.

6. Competition is what makes us all better.

7. Never get outworked.

8. Always show respect for our industry and your competition.

9. You don’t have to cheat to win.

10. Appreciate the “Show Mom” or “Show Dad” who make it all happen.

JESSICA KIMBRO is the 4-H and Youth Development county extension agent with Texas AgriLife Extension. She can be reached at 940-349-2884 or via email at