As I am writing this entry, it is currently raining, hailing and snowing at the same time combined with 30+ mph wind. Throw in freezing temps and we can probably kiss a wheat crop good bye. Hail & freezing temps in April are not a good thing for a plant like wheat.
It doesn’t matter what kind of competitive event that a kid partakes in, the ones that are winning have help. Doesn’t matter if it is athletics, music or showing livestock, there is somebody with knowledge to help the kid win. Some kids live with a coach/ag teacher and therefore have winning ways built into their daily routine. The rest have to find help. Think how many of these successful athletes had paid coaches to help them hone their skills. I’m not talking paid by the school. I mean paid by the kid’s family while the kid was in junior high school, high school and/orbefore college. Even in grade school. Swing coaches, pitching coaches, strength/conditioning coach, sprinter coach, passing coach, receiving coach, fundamentals coach, etc. The good ones find help in order to take that next step. And it costs them money.
There is more and more of this in the livestock world as well. The days of the local ag teacher being the expert are over. Why? Too many ex ag-teachers that are winning and focusing on that one thing is one reason. Two, a lot of parents are realizing that if their kid is going to be successful, they need to find somebody with knowledge to help. Whether it is a goat show, pig show, sheep show, whatever, there is somebody that knows more than most and not as much as some, but can consistently be in the “hunt”.
Many times at a sale, I watch a parent (sometimes a grandparent) buy an animal and I think to myself, “Don’t have to worry about getting beat by that one!” Why? Because that family 1) doesn’t feed properly, 2) doesn’t have a good exercise program, 3) doesn’t normally get them shown right, 4) doesn’t take care of business at crucial times or 5) just tends to screw stuff up.
There are times at shows that I look at an animal or a kid and think “Man, if they had some help, they would be tough to beat.” You can tell when somebody is close. These close ones normally fight it for a couple of years and then give up OR they get some help in order to take the next step. Sometimes a knowledgeable breeder steps in, other times they pay for the help.
A lot of people get in their own way. How? They put too many irons in the fire. For example, VERY few people are good at more than one species. Even fewer are good at doing multiple species at the same time. I have a proven track record with a wide variety of species, but I will guarantee you that it is dang near impossible to do more than one properly at crunch time at our house. Most doe showers need to stay in the doe barn. It’s tough to add wethers to the program unless the kid is committed. I personally think it is easier for a wether showman to move into the doe barn. Dang sure don’t add pigs or sheep to the list of chores because at some point, there will be a detail missed and some things will get done half assed. Then nothing is successful.
There is a long list of people that don’t get help until that magical senior year. The parents realize that the sand is running out of the hour glass, they haven’t been able to get their kid into a premium sale and they need help. They then get help and Shazam, the kid makes a sale. Why didn’t we do this before? Sometimes it is a pride thing. Other times, they are too tight to spend the money. I’ve watched parents decide to spend more to get a better animal, but because of a lack of knowledge, they buy the wrong animals (but they cost more). They would have actually SAVED money by hiring help and learning how to do it right. Saved money, saved time, had more success, more happy moments with their kids. Hhmm? It sounds BETTER to get help.
The amazing thing is that once people pay somebody for help–they start working harder. Why? They want their money’s worth. The kids feel the pressure because mom & dad anted up some coin to get help. Also, the kids will listen to somebody else better than their parents. There is also a respect factor for a proven successful coach.
It doesn’t matter what event the kids are in…look around, see who is consistently successful, then ask for help. You better expect to pay because knowledge should be worth something. If you find help for free, say “Thank You” and pass it on to somebody else.