Local/County Stock Shows

       The local or county stock show is one of those things that can drive a person nuts.  To some, it is a goal to win a local or county show.  I have to remind myself of this when dealing with kids.  Some have different goals than others.  I understand.  And at times, I forget this fact.  

We just survived the Ellis County Stock Show.  Four species plus all of the showmanships and premium sale orders, all shown in one day.  Our county agents kept things organized and we kept animals coming to the ring.  This isn’t a big county in terms of #s.  I have been around this county stock show for several years as I began my own stock show career in this same barn back in ’83.  Without a doubt this was the best set of animals (all 4 species) that I have seen shown there.  The top end will go play at shows still to come.  And this is a fun statement to say knowing that there were cattle left in the coolers, sheep and goats at home yet to be sheared and hogs waiting for their turn.  I’m not just bragging on Shattuck kids, but Ellis County kids.  It was a fun show to witness.

Not only did we show all 4 species, but we had one judge do all 4 species.  For the past couple of years, Ellis County has managed to hire some wicked good livestock judges.  Randy Nation, Tommy Milligan, Justin Rogers and this year, Bryan Kennedy.  It isn’t easy to find judges that can competently and confidently line up all 4 species, but this county has managed to do just that.  

       Here’s what I enjoyed about having Bryan Kennedy judge.  I knew what he would do.  He would do it exactly the way he saw it and then tell you why he did it that way and then would do it that way from start to finish.  He didn’t care who was showing, he judged livestock.  Consistent.  Exactly what a judge is supposed to do.  We’ve got some pretty good stock show families in this county and they all followed him.  We’ve got some Freddy 4-Her types and they liked him.  We’ve got some old school people that haven’t followed the trends but they still liked him.  Why?  I will tell you why.  He uses good livestock.  

As a parent and a teacher, I lliked it.  I asked a group of kids after the show what they thought.  One of these kids said, “It didn’t matter what species of animal he was judging, he wants them built the same way.”  I then asked “And how is that?”  She replied, “From the ground up.”  YES!  I loved it.  The kids listened.  Animals have four feet and legs.  Build them from the foundation and go up.  Stack a proper amount of muscle and make them balanced.  Not extreme one way or another.  Cows, sows, ewes, does, wethers, steers or barrows.  Start at the foundation and build from there.  

And here comes my question for the night.  Why in the heck does he have time on his calender to come judge the Ellis County Stock Show?  He should be judging steers or heifers all over the country.  No, he isn’t a hog or sheep industry expert, but he will use good ones, the right ones.  But then comes the really stupid question.  How come he isn’t judging the Texas major goat shows, Denver, Phoenix, KC?  There is a very short list of super qualified people that need to be judging big goat shows and he is on that list.  It would not bother me if he judged OYE with his own son showing a goat raised by the Hardin’s.  I know this much… Jacob had better show right and that better be a good goat or it’s gonna get beat.  He judges stock as he sees fit.  

Hats off to all of the good judges out there.  I like to watch good livestock showman and I appreciate watching a good evaluator of good stock.  Here’s to hoping that you had a wonderful day and a better tomorrow.