THE cancellation of most shows in 2020 not only affected keen livestock breeders, but it was also felt by the younger generation within the industry.
A chance to meet new friends or catch up with old mates, the show scene not only provides a social atmosphere but it allows for education, personal development, networking - the list goes on.
Not to mention for some it is their sport. How they choose to spend their afternoons and weekends, training, preparing and executing. Not netball or footy, showing livestock.
Now for those that laugh or are reading this and thinking "you're just a show jock" or "appreciate the break and some down time," I'm telling you I loved having a break, resting my cattle and getting some weekends back.
But I miss the opportunity to show people what we have going on at home and within our business, it is how we market our product after all. I miss walking through stalls and talking to like-minded people about their animals, seeing the smile on someone's face when they are slapped champion, and within my role, being able to tell your story when this happens.
Most of all I miss standing ringside watching the youth within the industry walk into a ring with a desire to win and proud of their achievements.
For years of my life that was me, well it still is but since I've ticked over 25 no more youth events, and I'm left admiring from the sidelines.
People say "I'm too old to compete at a junior show", but I question are you ever too old to stop learning?
It was great to see when the youth shows were left in the lurch, groups of passionate people developed competitions, such at the Junior Screen Spectacular (p70), to allow school students or individual enthusiasts to continue to develop and demonstrate their skills and education.
What was even better about these platforms was that it aided in the development of new skills, including adaptability, public speaking, video compilation and editing, and most importantly - it pushed people outside of their comfort zones.
Showing livestock was the best sport I could have been thrown into, so seeing people chose this path in life makes me happy. To see their switch flick, and the want to do better and be better, with a possible future industry leader in the midst is inspiring.
I remember the moment I decided I wanted more than just lugging around a 500 kilogram plus animal. I wanted to be the best version of myself, I wanted to better the product we were creating and I wanted to develop my skills so I could excel.
It developed me into the person I am today. I learnt compassion, determination, time management, pride, public speaking and communication skills, professionalism, empathy, marketing and critical thinking.
It is not just about the show as such, but the journey. I encourage you to give your kids a calf or a lamb to play around with in the backyard and see how they grow from bonding with the animal, or if you're in school join your ag team and see where it takes you.
"Showing livestock teaches discipline, work ethic, etc... but also (it teaches you) sometimes you can do it all correctly and things just don't work out," read a blog from Stock Show Stories I shared a few months ago.
Sometimes you lose and that is a fact, "the playing field of life is not level." It takes years of hard work, failure, re-evaluation and starting the climb back up the ladder before you somewhat succeed.
Learning resilience and how to 'lose' is important.
"People develop grit through a combination of determination, failure and success. You keep mixing those things up in a person's experience and I'll show you a person with grit," Stock Show Stories said.
Even the best fall down, whether it be an average flush or breeding result, a hard calving, a loss of a good animal or a second place ribbon - we have all been there. It's not about always winning at life, but how you choose to get up and keep going that matters. That is grit.
When I was in the US, I was told "the dream's free, the hustle's not" and that has stuck with me.
Remember have a dream but don't forget to put in the hard work, behind the scenes where no one can see it. Practice, re-evaluate your breeding objectives, marketing or business plan, and make it happen.
Most importantly if you cop a blow, get back up.