It must be fair time… 

It’s one of the best weeks of the year. The week our kids work toward all.year.long. Fair week. It is that week which all the bittersweet emotions of saying goodbye to a partner and friend in the ring can get the best of you. The week a FFA or 4H exhibitor can reach the highest high of winning the grand champion trophy and then hit the lowest low of saying goodbye to a pet they have worked with daily in 2 consecutive back to back days. Admittedly, it can be tough.

I am guilty too.  The night before sale day this year I sat in the barn next to “Phil”, Nate’s reserve grand champion FFA market steer and cried as I petted him that one last time. How to do you say goodbye to the partner that helped your child achieve his dream? The friend who occupied the majority of his time those early mornings and those late evenings when he was washing and clipping and missing supper. How do you thank that friend? How do you say good-bye to that friend?

Did Phil lead a privileged life? He did. He led a life that surpassed those many a cow lead. He was housed under fans, fed show feed, blown dry and shampooed on a daily basis. He was talked to, petted and confided in as most never will dream to be.

He is not the first FFA or 4H animal I have said goodbye to. He is not the first one I sat next to and cried. Trust me… I remember watching “Junior” ride away in the trailer behind our truck. Call me sentimental. Call me crazy. But I believe in giving credit where credit is due and Nate could not have accomplished reserve champion in showmanship, reserve grand champion FFA market steer and first in his class without the help of his partner in the ring. And for THAT I am thankful.

So for those who think that raising and showing an animal as my son has done is not work, and for those who think the kids are unattached… I beg you watch on sale day as the kids say goodbye. It is gut wrenching. But it is a valuable life lesson being taught. Respect the animal, appreciate what it has given you, work hard, take care of animals, learn the value of a dollar and be proud of the hard work you put into your project. Even though it is hard to say goodbye, it is also a moment that makes parents proud of their kids for what they have accomplished.

I am proud of what my son did this year. Fair week was bittersweet. We have not forgotten Junior, or Phil, or Daisy, or Buddy or any of the other friends Nate has had along the way. He has learned some valuable lessons that remind me of how mature he has become and how hard he can work.

Now…. lets get started on Fair 2016.

Phil, winner of FFA grand champion market steer, first in class and reserve grand champion in showmanship 2015

Trophies in our camper after the beef show. The next day, we said goodbye to a friend

Judge, Nate, Cass County Beef Queen and Phil’s owner and Nate’s coach together for photo

Check out this post on the March Country Fair blog party! Click here: March Country Fair blog party