A whole bunch of the livestock showing world revolves around one’s perspective. County or Major. Seriously, what are your goals? Are they your goals or your kids’ goals? Perspective. Let’s be honest, over the past couple of years, I have had to look at the stock show industry through numerous different perspective’s. Let’s take a look at several different perspectives that I have witnessed in the past few months.
The first one involves my youngest brother. He and his wife are raising a daughter and a son in Shattuck, America. His daughter decided that she wanted to get a show animal. They let her choose what species. She chose a wether goat. Daniel made it real clear that he wanted a decent project that fit a budget. From his perspective, he wanted her to have success if she worked at it but he didn’t want to lose a pile of cash if she didn’t do her part. From Tammy & I’s perspective, we were kind of like “Dang! Is this the right path for her? I mean the Kelln name carries a bit of baggage and certain expectations.” In the end, we followed Daniel’s lead. I put on my ag teacher hat and Kevlee and I agreed to terms on a little triplet wether that “had a chance”.
I’m happy to say that she did her part and took great care of this animal. She still has a ways to go on becoming a stellar showman yet she improved every time. Kevlee and Bugs made the county premium sale. She placed high enough to have a chance for the Woodward District premium sale. But, not quite. When it came time for OYE, I actually recommended that they just go watch. As a family, they decided to go show. Even knowing that the odds were not in their favor, I’m glad that they did. Kevlee watched and learned. She felt what it was like to show in a class with 50+ goats. And when she came out of the ring, without a ribbon, she correctly critiqued her showmanship. We are proud of her and look forward to watching her career as we go forward.
The next perspective also happened while at OYE. Back in February, Schneberger called me after they had won the SW District. He told me that they probably wouldn’t take that wether to OYE. Then, the sandbagger shows up with that same wether. We were having a chat about goats, mindset, showing, everything (and for those of you that know either of us, it was loud) and Jared said, “Sometimes, Kelln, it’s all about perspective.” We agreed. From his perspective, his family has been to the top of the mountain. And he spent some coin to do it. I remember when he couldn’t hardly get her placed in a class much less win a class. Now, they are dragging a home-raised one and it really didn’t make a rat’s ass if it won grand, a class or just got a ribbon. No matter what, they were going to be fine and worse case scenario, they could go home and look at an OYE and a couple of Tulsa grand trophies. Congrats to them!
I probably wrestle with the perspective issues more than anybody else in this game. I’ve had to be a parent, an ag teacher, a friend, a jock, a breeder, an uncle and sometimes, all of the above. I wish that I didn’t know some things. I’m glad that I learned other things. I realize that a lot of the stuff that goes on in our industry, I played a role–small or large, I was there.
From a parent’s perspective–Tammy and I are both REALLY glad to be ex-stock show parents. We are glad that our kids were raised in this environment. We are happy for what they accomplished. But, the banners can get in the way. Their work ethic and connection’s across the country are truly priceless. Our kids are in the real world and were given a good launching point. We are proud of that.
From a breeder’s perspective–I’m tired. I’m tired of putting in CIDRs, unsuccessful flushes and dealing with crap like DOE goats. I hate taking pictures of goats, despise videoing goats and would rather stab myself in the scrotum with a rusty ice pick than have to answer another anonymous text about “more pics or videos” of a damn goat. There is a special place in hell for you anonymous texters. From one perspective to another, a top-shelf breeder like Maycon Stork will or will not back me up on this. Just read his write ups. It’s miserable! Yet, there are other breeders that are salivating at sending you another picture of a pimped out common bastard that they can’t wait to cash your check.
From a jock’s perspective–Maybe my mood would be different if I had cashed in when we were winning A LOT! But, I didn’t–cash in that is. Win a lot–we did. Oh well! Feed, supplements, tail pop, etc. I got a lot of cookies, cold beer and a steak every now and then. I had a lot of fun gathering a lot of goats for a lot of really cool kids and families. AND, even though we kept it clean, I have to look back and ask “At what cost? Where was the line? Was this fun?”
From an ag teacher’s perspective–I was an ag teacher when this goat deal started. A couple of girls (Kela, Danielle Litzenberger & Kourtney Childers) talked me into showing a couple of wethers. Dani and Kela became hooked. And the rest is history. I will show any species if that is what a kid is willing to invest their time and work. It was a bit of a hurdle for me at OYE this year. I was asked to look at a goat on the next aisle from our stalls. On that row was a bunch of big-time wethers. I came back to our stall. A freshman boy and his wether were ready to go to the ring. He asked how his goat looked. I looked at him and said, “Tate, you are going to the ring against $100K plus worth of wethers that each have four people fitting legs and drenching. And dude, you have Darrell the bottle baby wether that won your first county grand champion and made your first district premium sale. Darrell doesn’t owe us a thing. And you have a worn-out old ag teacher that is a has-been in the wether showing world. You better show your tail off!” He did but it wasn’t enough. It’s at this point, that my jock and parent perspectives conflict with my ag teacher view point(s).
I could go into the feed sales, additives, etc. Trust me when I say that there is a whole industry that would like me to shut the eff up! I will…. for now.
Friends–DUDE!!! Without a doubt, the best part of all of these experiences are the friends that WE have all across the country. Seriously, we have friends on either coast that we met through this industry. We have friends that literally live 30 miles away that we would not have known if it wasn’t for showing goats. With regards to the friends accumulated from the goat industry….well Clark, it’s like the jelly of the month club. It’s the gift that just keeps on giving.
Keep your head right and your perspectives right. I have and I haven’t. Trust me. There ain’t nobody in the industry that has all of the perspectives that I have. Damn! I just wish espn had a show talking about showing stock. I could make Charles Barkley look calm.