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Letter: Let’s bid on animals, not kids
For the next several weeks, junior livestock shows will be held throughout South Texas.
This much-anticipated event features the youth of our county who pursue this interest despite the decline of agricultural classes offered in school.
These kids are self-disciplined and work on a long-term project with relentless effort and perseverance. And this is extra effort -- beyond the classroom hours; it requires giving up weekends, too!
The youth who participate in this long-standing program develop into responsible and reliable adults. Most go on to college and many enter ag-related jobs.
But, back to the stock show and the culmination of it all -- the auction! Those who do not qualify to be in the grand sale take their animals home -- with much disappointment!
Now, those who have placed in the top slots in the various categories have now earned a place in the ring.
But wait! Not all of the kids will actually walk their animals through the arena or across the stage. Why not? In fact, several animals have already been removed hours before. What?
If a participant achieved the sale status, he/she personally should proudly display the animal. This is a privilege -- an honor. But, it is more than that -- it is also an obligation. First, it is an obligation to demonstrate the handling of the animal -- the showmanship (even though this was previously judged). This process teaches the child how to present himself and how to interact with the audience. This instills confidence for the future.
Second, it is an obligation to the prospective buyers.
If the participant is standing on stage holding a ribbon, what exactly are the buyers bidding on? The student? The ribbon? I’m being facetious, but that is how it appears! After all, the buyers generally do not see the animals prior to the auction.
It’s been said that the shows are becoming too long to include all the animals -- so, often the poultry, hogs, or goats are simply not shown in the ring in order to speed up the sale and reduce the hassle.
What in the world are we teaching our children?
This is the message -- we are implying first, “We really don’t have time for all of you. It’s been a long three days, so let’s get this over with.” Second, “You don’t need to display your animal. It’s too much trouble and we are not interested in seeing the result of your effort.”
Add-ons and pre-arranged consortiums have taken away from the spontaneous fun. I don’t oppose alliances, but the sale amounts are determined before the auction begins.
This huge event happens once a year after months of hard work. Why shouldn’t these kids have their time in the spotlight?
Yes, the adults are tired and maybe stressed because of their own jobs, etc. And yes, the show is a huge workload and hassle. But, this is about the kids -- not the adults.
This is “their day” -- a day that each kid will always remember.
Let’s not take away from that!
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