Eyes Wide Open

seems hard to believe that a month ago, the 2014 Kansas State Fair was in full
swing! There were families touring the exhibits, carnival
rides providing lots of adrenaline rushes and my personal favorite, people showing
their animals.
fellow officers and I traveled to Hutchinson to assist with the Swine, Sheep,
Goat and Beef Barns. Taylor was in the Goat Barn, Nick was in Sheep Barn, Jeff
and Bethany were in the Beef Barn and Kyle and I were in the Swine Barn. That’s
right. Kyle and I were in the Swine Barn.

        Here is a little background information about me: I never showed any animals. I had the opportunity, but I never seized it.

         I would like to think that Kyle is a
pig guy. He showed them, raised them and I will also say that he really does
love them. Don’t tell him I told you that! I on the other hand, have little to
no experience with pigs. Needless to say, I was just a little nervous when I
found out my barn assignment. Kyle also deserves a big “shout-out” for keeping
me calm and collected during the walk to the barn.
         When we arrived at the barn, Kyle and I
were given separate tasks to accomplish. My first task was nothing too “earth-shattering.”
I was in charge of registering the 4-H/FFA members and their animals for the
showmanship competition. Later the same night, Showmanship began, and I was
given another task. I was to write down the numbers of the placers, and return them
to the announcer. Accomplishing this task meant that I was required to
physically be in the show arena with the members showing their pigs. After
about ten minutes of trying not to be in the way, I relaxed and was able to
truly see the competition. The intensity and determination was written all over
the members’ faces. Their pigs were very skilled, and were able to move
throughout the show arena with ease.
         For the next couple of days, I assisted
in the show arena by collecting event cards from each member, writing their
corresponding numbers down and presenting ribbons to those who were in the top
ten. I absolutely loved these jobs. I found myself just wanting to “hang-out”
in the show arena with the pigs at all times. I was so impressed by the members
and their care for the animals. I remember witnessing one girl squatting down
and kissing her pig multiple times because she had just won. In the short time
that I was able to assist, I gained a new respect for the people that show and
their animals.
         I want to end this post with a simple
“thank you,” and a challenge.
         Thank you to those of you that raise
animals, show them and care for them. My eyes were opened to the entirety of
the hard work, dedication and responsibility it takes to own an animal in
general. I learned so much, and I have you all to thank for that. The memories
I made while in those barns will stick with me forever.

         My challenge to those of you reading
this is to always keep an open mind. When you do this, new information will
present itself to you in ways you never thought possible. Trust me on this one.
Look at them go! 
It’s show time! 
The Grand Drive! 
I made a friend!