Like What You Show

This title may not make sense, but it should.  I’ve always tried to follow this rule, but I have deviated from time to time.  My dad instilled in me, “that no matter the species, you are raising meat in the end.  Don’t jeapordize the end product.”  We have always had excellent beef, pork and now goat meat in our family.  Of course, that year that he made me show sheep in 1984, we hauled them off.  But, doesn’t everybody haul sheep somewhere else?


Like what you show. Show what you like.  

Think about it.

I got started showing in the early 80s.  With pigs.  The style at that time was puss-gutted barrows that couldn’t walk.  Dad and I didn’t like those.  So, we took a beating for a year or two.  Then, in the fall of 85, at the Shattuck Pig Sale, we liked a pair of littermate cross barrows.  One was belted and the other was a blue barrow.  They were sound, with muscle shape and could walk.  Jerry Brooks was the breeder and they were sired by Larry Brady’s Harry boar.  We got out bid on the hamp barrow–went to Texas (sign of things to come for many years, getting out bid by Texans).  We bought the blue butted barrow–$285.   This barrow won a lot of classes and made the OKC premium sale.  He was 8th overall in the carcass contest (remember that deal?)  He was only beat once in class all year and that was at Woodward District.  Bandit, the blue butt barrow, stood 2nd in class.  The judge was Dr. Bob Hines.  We got beat by a trimmer made barrow.  I didn’t like getting beat, but I understood why the judge did what he did.  He picked what he liked.  Not what was in style.  

I haven’t changed much in the 30 years plus of selecting stock. And it has cost me at times.  I have rules to live by when evaluating stock–Show animals must have a look, be balanced, plenty of muscle and be acceptable in terms of finish–not fat, but dang sure not thin.  Pigs have to be able to walk.  Cattle MUST be able to walk and walk and walk.  Regardless of species, structure is harder to breed.  Any idiot can breed for extremes.  Heavy boned–you bet, then we start pulling babies and doing C sections.  Freak muscle–yep, then the females quit being females.  But, keep it towards the middle with structure, balance and completeness takes a program that doesn’t just happen. It is planned for.  

I am still a believer that you should like what you show and show what you like.  We will show good looking, well balanced, complete animals that have plenty of muscle.  We will get beat by “extremities” in terms of muscle and animals that we deemed “off” in structure.  I’m fine with it.  

When you have to look at an animal for 4-12 months, you should like what you are looking at.  It should give you hope and satisfaction when you study the animals that you have on feed.  

Like what you show.  Show what you like.  

There are times that I have sorted animals, and competitors thought, “We don’t have to worry about that one.”  But they still got beat.  Why?  Not because I was smarter. But because that animal fit the showman, the family and how we knew how to feed.  

Like what you show.  Show what you like.  

Take what you like, and veer towards a certain judges tendencies.  Don’t get too extreme.  If you go to buying extremes, you often end up TOO extreme.  

That blue-butt pig is still fresh in my mind.  He got along under all judges that year.  Won classes at jackpots, local, county and OKC.  2nd at district was the worst.  But, there was a friend of mine that showed a pig at all of the same shows.  He sifted at ALL of the shows except 2.  At those 2 shows, he was grand and I was reserve grand.  To this day, I can still remember both judges of those shows.  I’m friends with one of the judges and Dad made me apoligize to the other judge who is a well known livestock judge.  For those times, and I stress TIMES, those judges were fine with their selections.  Although, I can still talk reasons on those grand drives. Which is easy to do if you like what you show and show what you like.  

My point, it is easier to show and feed an animal if you like what you are working with.  Feed towards your strengths.  Show towards your strengths.  Select for your strengths.  And if you are relying on help, do what they like.  And don’t question it.  If you don’t know what you are doing, then shut up and let your help do what they know and like.  If you just like a banner, then get out the way.  And let those people Like what you show and show what you like.  

Oh hell.  I’m getting dizzy.  Let’s just print some t-shirts and watch the shows.