Unpopular County Fair Opinion

I watched my teenage daughter walk back to our pens with her Hampshire barrow last week at the National Junior Summer Spectacular in Louisville and couldn’t help but tear up. She had just been named Reserve Champion in the Hampshire show and there’s no question that I was proud of her and happy about the win. But that didn’t cause the misty-eyed response. I teared up because not too far behind her carrying the banner was her sweet friend, Makayla.

I’ve watched these two girls and their friendship grow over the past few years. They live in different states, separated by more than 100 miles. However, their connection formed through showing pigs is one that just doesn’t come along every day. They compete against each other, but the joy they have for each other’s victories and successes is real. There’s no faking those hugs and smiles.

If Makayla is in the ring, Olivia (my daughter) is watching nearby. If Olivia is showing, Makayla’s cheering. That’s one of the neat lessons that showing livestock provides – an opportunity to learn how to win well and how to “not win” well. 

Makayla and Olivia

Life’s a lot more fun when you’re sharing in each other’s joys rather than picking apart people’s success. 

This week, a tweet from Lynsee Pullen, keeps popping into my mind. “Unpopular County Fair Opinion: The champion deserved it and I’m happy for that family.”

What a sad truth. How often are we truly happy for the one that wins? 

“It’s easy to get caught up into thinking that everything is a once in a lifetime opportunity or that other people’s success means you can’t succeed too. But in reality, very few things in life have a limited supply,” says Amy Morin, an international bestselling mental strength author.

We are in the thick of county fair season and competition abounds for blue ribbons and champion banners. Some will take those ribbons and banners home, and some won’t. I’ve been on both sides. 

Be a good friend, youth exhibitors. Parents and supporters—be good role models. All of these kids work hard. There will always be someone who works more and someone who works less, but who are we to judge what’s fair?

Look for opportunities to celebrate the success of others. Then, go seek out the kids who get sent back to the barn with no award and point out the good that you saw in them. You won’t have to try hard in finding grounds for a compliment. Sometimes it’s simply showing up. 

Don’t let the success of others take away from the good you have in yours. Find people to surround yourselves with who share in that “unpopular” county fair opinion. Friendships last way longer than banners.

More blogs from Jennifer Shike:

It Takes All of Us

Emerging Technology, Emerging Leaders

Is U.S. Pork Safe to Eat?

5 Lessons FFA Taught Your Mother