Hair has been an important part of 1st world civilization for the past century or so. Yes, I am aware that many cultures have used certain hair styles to indicate rank, class and wealth over the course of history. But, we have taken it to a whole new level. Hippies, skinheads, preps, and followers of Hare Krishna are just a few social themes that have had their moments. Dennis Rodman used his hair as a billboard. Don King is (was) easily recognizable at a boxing press conference because of his hair and his mouth. (Is he still alive?) I think that we are all aware of Donald Trump’s hair do or hair don’t. There have been specific haircuts tied to a celebrity–the Farrah Fawcet flip, Mr. T, the Rachel and maybe the worst, but most recognizable do of all-time–the Boz. There have been times when it was cool to be shaggy–top and bottom. Then there have been times it was cool to be as slick as Kojak. Manscape is actually a term. It is the month of November, excuse me, I meant Movember. Men are supposed to grow facial hair this month–moustache, beard or goatee.
I have found that the older I get and the grayer the hair gets, the more hair I can grow. Not just on my head. Nose hair, eyebrows, ear hair and back hair. It happens. Several years ago, Tammy, Kela and Duke had fun referring to me as their “silverback” while we were in Costa Rica. The positive thing is I still have lots of hair on my head. Hair is a genetic thing–regardless of species. My dad says “That GOD made some people with a perfect head. The rest, well he gave them a full head of hair.” Sure thing there, slick. My brothers have hair, but they have limitations. Me. I can grow hair on my head like a yeti. The only problem is that I like my hair short. Not for looks, but for comfort. The hair on my head is thick and grows fast. I could go full Willie Nelson in a month or so if I had the need or desire. Facial hair–I have the hair of a pure Berkshire hog. Black, coarse and doesn’t grow or lay like you would want it to do. A good looking beard or stache, well, I am limited in that regard. But these hairs can dull a razor in a hurry.
The livestock show is just like society. Recent history has shown us to be worried about hair quantity and quality. Cattle breeders started this craze. Goats have hid behind hair from the get-go. Sheep jocks are growing leg shag in epic proportions. And even the hog boys worry about hair and hide. I love the look of an expertly carved market steer that is kept in proprotion. I am not necessarily a proponent of slicking steers, but slick shearing steers in Texas has probably resulted in the production of better cattle. Slick shearing sheep has done the same. I would bet that the Boer goat breed would improve drastically if the ABGA nationals slicked the bucks.
At goat shows, I am amazed/apalled at the amount of time and effort that I, as well as others, put into fitting legs on a wether. Make ’em look big, make ’em look right, make ’em look good. Why? Because I/we feel the need to do everything that we possibly can do to look the part. Fine. But any judge with one or two working eyes can tell.
Numerous show supply companys have built empires selling and developing hair care products and hair growth snake oils. Cool rooms are a staple in the cattle business. Rinsing and blowing is a must for cattle, sheep and goats. Brushing and deep wood chips are a requirement in the hog arena.
I have no problem with all of this livestock hair care. It probably does more for work ethic, presentation and actually working with the animal than any other thing that we do. Hair care is a hands-on activity. But…all of this hair work still does NOT affect the end result–the production of a high quality carcass. And in a market show, we should be looking for the highest quality carcass on a structurally correct, well balanced animal that can function in the real world.
Sometimes, just sometimes, we forget about this and worry more about how the picture will look. And then we market from said picture.
Cheers to those that are in San Angelo for the Lone Star Elite Jackpot. Duke and I would like to be there. But, sometimes you just know that it is time to stay home. Good luck.