I don’t know even know where to begin. Do I write this as an ex-ag teacher, a parent, a stock show addict, what? My gut is in a knot and my head is upside down & sideways….and I feel lucky. Some of you that read this are interested in goats, some interested in the stock show industry and some look at it to see what kind of crap I can come up with.
Anybody that knows me understands that I love kids, animals and competitions (stock shows, speech contests, judging contests, etc). I love to win, but it isn’t about the win, it is about the journey to get there. The things that I love about stock shows is that you have to have a goal, the work ethic to achieve that goal, the fact that you have to have help and that you can do it as a family. That family may include blood relatives as well as friends.
I feel lucky because I spent time with Kela and Duke today. We have friends that have not been that fortunate today. Thus, the prayers.
The Bedwell name is known nationwide for high quality cattle. They have also shown some dang good goats, pigs, sheep and whatever else you want to show. Jeff Bedwell is as good a livestock judge as there is. His wife, Dianne, comes from a well known sheep showing family. Their kids have been highly succesfull showmen.
I was fortunate enough to be an ag teacher at Fairview with Jared and Justin in class. Jennifer was in 4-H and showing goats and cattle. As she has gotten older, she has since won numerous public speaking contests. Jared has been around cattle shows FOREVER. He knew how to judge, read, feed and clip cattle like his dad, which means as good as anybody. These kids know livestock and know people.
Justin was the middle child, and therefore, carved his own path. He excelled with plant sciences and won state and national awards to prove it. Justin graduated high school with Kela and they were goods friends. Justin always had a good time and if you were in the vicinity of him, then you should to. If you didn’t it was your fault, not his. He wasn’t a model student as far as grades go, but he was a fun student. I liked Justin, but he had an exceptional bond with my teaching partner Mindi Clark. Through the greenhouse, she was able to motivate him. As the elder teacher, I had the experience of watching her grow as a teacher and he as a student become a motivated young adult. This is the heroin that still goes through my veins and makes me want to teach again. You can try your best with every student, but it only clicks with a few. But it is way worth it when it does.
Jared dreamed of becoming a cattle jock. I am talking buying/selling calves but with extensive customer service. Win the big shows, but do it right. Grow hair, trim hooves and clip hair to immaculate perfection. He was doing it. He was living his dream. How many of us actually get to do that? He was. He already had wins at major shows and a was building a huge clientele base. But, he had family help–from all of them. Justin helped groom cattle, Jennifer showed them, mom was always there and Dad trimmed hooves, helped clip, gave nutrition/selection/financial advice, etc. They have always done it as a family.
In October, Justin was killed in a car accident on his way to the Tulsa State Fair to help get cattle ready. It was an accident, but he was gone at too early an age, full of goals, promise and a bright future. Taken way too early. Why? Only GOD knows.
This morning, Jared was killed in a car accident. I cannot understand why. I don’t know what to say to the parents. I’m real good at offering opinions and dishing out BS, but to try to console/help parents that have lost two sons in less than 3 months, I’m at a loss. I feel selfish/lucky because my kids are here with Tammy and I.
I realize that Justin was working towards goals–HIS goals. Jared was choking a dream into submission so well that it was rapidly becoming a reality. Both boys were using their skills that they learned from their parents and doing it as a family. A sister lost her two older brothers/heroes/role models. A mother should never lose a child, much less two. And a father didn’t lose his sons, but his best friends and co-workers. This family has a huge friend/family base that will help. But it can’t replace the loss.
I have no explanation. I’m not good at consolation. The smart-ass/simple-minded part of me would like to think that there was a damn important cattle show somewhere that these boys were needed to get a good one ready. Anyways, I hope, otherwise I’m at a loss. All I do know is that any prayers for the Bedwell family are needed and appreciated. While you are praying, don’t forget to think GOD for how lucky each one of us are. I know that I lose track at times.