March 11th was the tipping point when our Stock Show world started to tilt on its axis; Houston Stock Show & Rodeo cancelled. Soon, too, Rodeo Austin. Days later, Oklahoma Youth Expo. Many county shows across our land followed suit. Yet there wasn’t a single show that wanted to shut down; they were all forced to. I heard people mention that “it isn’t fair”.
Let’s discuss fairness. Was it fair that shows were cancelled, and you couldn’t show? It was actually unfortunate. Is it fair that you were born in a country that you can show animals? Consider it a privilege. Is it fair that you don’t help others in our sport? Was it fair to the Show Staff that they were forced to cancel? Fairness is not a God given right. In fact, many things in life aren’t fair.
For the seniors that lost their last chance to go into the ring, I feel for you, I truly do. Allow me to offer this. Every one of us walks into the ring for the last time. The truth is that none of us are promised the next show, much less tomorrow. But if you feel cheated, become a mentor to the next generation of exhibitors. Help them learn our sport. Help them become better showmen. Help them to know and understand what you have learned. Become a better and bigger person. Do not let this opportunity pass for you. Make a difference. I know firsthand that helping others succeed in something that you are passionate about is an amazing feeling.
It’s in times of adversity that we find what people are made of. I want to commend you, and our industry on what has gone on since March 11th. It is during times like these that great people do great things. I have witnessed many great things from the Stock Show families across the country. The greatness that I have witnessed has renewed my faith in the human spirit.
Several adults fought for some of you to show one last time. Against all odds, and in record time, the Keep It Weird and Alternative shows were organized in Texas. We had a presence at both of those shows, and the atmosphere was something that no words do justice to describe. Over the course of four days these two groups raised over $600,000 to distribute to the participants. The grit and determination that was exhibited by those involved with each show was nothing short of amazing. To those that played a role in pulling off the impossible, Thank You and Congratulations!
I’m sure there are several of us that are tired of hearing about ‘social distancing’. But the reality is that we must be vigilant and do our part for everyone’s safety. I believe that the smartest thing that we all can do is create as much normalcy as possible. Specifically, I am encouraging Stock Show families to buy projects and to get back into the barn; feed animals, work projects and keep your passion alive.
I mentioned that over $600,000 was raised for two replacement shows. Those funds came from individuals and organizations who believe in our industry. Several donated thousands of dollars, and others donated more than they probably could afford. At the end of the day, we all did the same thing; Invested In The Future Of Our Way Of Life. I have no knowledge of who contributed to those shows, but I encourage you to find out and to support them, just as they have supported you.
I am grateful for the support that you have shown us throughout the years and am grateful for the opportunity to continue to give back. I look forward to seeing you in the ring soon.
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