November 20, 2012 by olivere7
After eleven months of constant travel, a few hundred sets of oral reasons, countless steno notepads and four cans of Niagara Heavy Spray Starch, my career as an intercollegiate livestock judging contestant is over.
As I write this, I’m sitting in the stands of the NSR Fall Classic weanling pig sale in Duncan, Oklahoma, people-watching. It’s pretty amazing how many of the breeders here are familiar faces after visiting their farms for workouts or delivering oral reasons to them in their capacity as contest officials.
Even more amazing is the conversation I just had with a sales rep from a well known feed company. After seeing Kevin’s MSU Livestock Judging hat from the 2012 golf outing, he engaged us in conversation by first asking if we actually had any livestock “up there in Michigan”.
It’s no secret that as far as livestock-producing states go, Michigan is pretty low on the totem pole… especially where the show ring is considered.
Painfully aware of this, we had a good laugh with the gentleman, then proceeded to discuss my judging experience with him. After he asked what I plan to do with myself in all of my free time now that the judging season is over, I responded, “oh, I suppose I’ll turn my attention to finding a job.”
He reiterated a sentiment I’ve heard many times this year, “after judging, you shouldn’t have a problem finding a job in this industry.”
Glad to hear it.
In addition to (apparently) increasing my employability, judging gave me the opportunity to travel, pursue my passion for the livestock industry, and develop lasting relationships with my teammates (who crossed the line from friendship to family a LONG time ago), all while learning from three of the most successful men in the livestock industry.
Thank you to my teammates and coaches, as well as family, coworkers and anyone else that I’ve told, “sorry that doesn’t work… I have a judging conflict.” I appreciate your understanding and support of my goals.
It’s been hard. It’s been frustrating. It’s been stressful.
And it’s been tremendously rewarding.