Some kids go to basketball camp. Mine goes to livestock judging camp.
It’s all relative. Sure, there’s plenty of country kids that are into sports. Mine is not one of them. He likes working on the farm and working with his livestock. He asks for tools for Christmas. When some kids are spending hours on the field practicing baseball, he’s spending hours in the barn working with his pigs. So livestock judging camp was right down his alley.
There’s a great group of people that have put together this camp. We’ve known them for years and they are raising families that they should be proud of. Brian Anderson, another friend and former livestock judging coach at Coffeyville Community College and Fort Scott Community College, works with the kids for an intensive three days of judging and reasons.
They spent the days in both the classroom learning the technical part of the livestock industry and in the field actually evaluating livestock. One of the things I love about livestock judging is that it teaches young people to make decisions and back them up. There’s no wishy-washiness here. You make your decision and stand behind it. Sure, you may realize that you don’t have the same opinion as the official, but if you can make him see your reasoning, all the better.
And here’s how we roll in the country – my boy has a cast on his arm and the kids were swimming in the farm pond. Not to be deterred, they put an AI sleeve over his cast, whipped out the duct tape and Viola, he was good to go! And it looks like there was plenty of fun to be had.
But here’s what it is really about:
Their two dads? Friends for years. They showed cattle against each other when they were these boys’ age. They judged together in college. They are still friends. Our two families used to have a cattle sale together. These boys now show pigs against each other, and inside the ring they are after each other. Outside, however, they shake hands and congratulate each other. They hang out together at the trailers. And not that I’m predicting the future or anything, but I could not ask for a better lifelong friend for my son. Perhaps someday, their kids will be judging against each other at their own livestock judging camp. And that would be just fine with me.