August 27, 2020 2 min read

We asked another one of our friends to contribute as a Guest Blogger.  Austin Voyles, a Principal at Purple Circle Magazine, is as involved in the Stock Show World as almost anyone who doesn't yet have a child showing livestock.  We value Austin's perspective on different issues; from being a sounding board, to being a friend, he has always given it to us straight.  Listen to Austin's perspective on this new thing called Virtual Shows.


Where do we go from here?

How many times have you asked yourself or your family that exact same question over the last 90 days??  It seems as if this hiccup that ruined [several] livestock shows won’t ever leave us alone, so we can’t help but begin thinking of ways to adapt and overcome, right? 

One of the skills that must be possessed in order to produce crops or livestock is that inherent ability to do just that, modify your behavior given a set of circumstances out of your control.  Our livestock community, volunteers, and fair board members have done just that, they’ve acclimatized to the situation and given our youth an opportunity to exhibit their livestock in the form of the virtual livestock show. 

I am guilty of getting stuck in my own small town world, and forgetting that there were other evil pressures and uncontrollable factors weighing on the people and organizations that are associated with fairs and livestock shows, from big city mayors and political figures to animal rights activists all aimed at removing the livestock project from our culture.  

Is the virtual livestock show just the beginning of the end of our lifestyle as we’ve known it?  Hear me out, and don’t automatically call the lynch mob to get me.  There are changing pressures in our world that are driving decisions that will affect agriculture forever, and we forget, because it is so incredibly important to our lives, that livestock exposition is but a very small part of the agriculture sector as a whole.   

There is incredible value in the virtual livestock show, and I commend those that have organized and sorted the hundreds that have taken place. But I think we would be mistaken if we thought this could not remove some viability from the normal, in-person livestock show, and for that, we need to be prepared. It feels as if we have given the wrong people the right bullets to damage our beloved livestock show, and that is frightening. Those that oppose animals in captivity or livestock production as a whole now have step-one in their tool bags used to dismantle our sport.   Without in person shows, we aren’t congregating with each other and exhibiting our livestock for the public to see, missing a valuable teaching opportunity! 

We are gritty, determined, hard headed kinds of folks that will go to extremes to ensure we are able to raise our children using the greatest youth development tool on the planet.   We have to be prepared to stand up and work even closer with fair boards and government to ensure they see the dire need for in-person livestock shows around our country!   

Buy livestock.

Let the livestock raise your kids.

Push hard for in person shows!