Monday, January 26, 2009

Show Me -- A My Town Monday Post

This will not be the most detailed of My Town Monday posts, but hopefully in the coming weeks I'll have more time to research and get back in the groove. For this week I'm going to give MTM a more personal slant and take y'all for a trip down my memory lane.

This past weekend the Potter County Junior Livestock show was held at the Amarillo Tri-State fairgrounds. This is a yearly event where 4H and FFA kids bring the animals they've raised for the sake of competition. Steers, Swine, Sheep, Goats, and Rabbits.

Once upon a time I was one of those kids, and as I walked around the stock show this weekend the memories were plentiful.

I remembered how the rough texture of a griddle brick left my fingers tips raw and sore as I used it to groom my pig.

I remembered being so tired from all that work involved that I didn't think twice about climbing inside my hog's pen and using him for a pillow when I wanted to catch a quick nap before showtime. (For the record the pig had been bathed using this oh so fragrant hand soap called Fast Orange so there was no smell.)

I remembered the friendship and camaraderie before and after entering the show ring.

I remembered the competitive tunnel vision I felt once in the ring.

I remembered the sense of pride when my animal placed high, the sense of regret for the work I should have done but didn't when it didn't place so well.

As I thought back on those days, I realized that many of the lessons I learned back, still apply today. Raising and showing animals is about responsibility, dedication, hard work, and just rewards.

Then I remembered how mad I used to get when one of my fellow competitors back-doored their way into success. Some of their parents did all the work while the kid did nothing. Some times a particular judge would have a blindside for the cute little girls with ribbons in their hair, or the cute high school girls with tight fitting Rockies. Some parents spent a fortune buying animals for their offspring and bought success for their kids.

My family never had the funds for that and my mom was too busy trying to earn a living as a single parent to get up at six in the morning and bust ice out of my animals water trough. I never looked good in either a hair bow or a pair of tight fitting Rockies, so yeah, I hated to see others find success through those methods. But guess what, that too taught me a few things about the nature of the world. Life isn't rarely fair but all you can do is plug along and do your thing.

And I was fortunate to do okay. I've blogged in the past about my success showing pigs. I only hope that some of the kids I saw showing this weekend will find the same kind of success and look back as fondly on their show experience as I do.

And if you've never attended one of these shows, look up the dates for your area and check one out. Most parts of the country have some sort of FFA or 4H program and the kids that put the work in for months on end deserve accolades.

Here's a shot of SPOT, the recipient of my most recent tattooing efforts.

And for those of that missed my post back in 2007 about my pig showing experiences, here is a picture of yours truly as a rosy-cheeked high school senior, circa 1991.

Chris and Junosmom have done a stupendous job of keeping My Town Monday alive in my absence and I really appreciate their efforts and if they so choose, I want them to continue listing the links as well. Way I figure, the broader exposure for everyone who participates the better, but please drop me an email or a comment if you post so I can get your link up. And Chris and Junosmom, I understand that a good deal of work goes into keeping up with the links so please don't feel obligated.


Jenn Jilks --Flaps her wings in Muskoka, Ontario, Canada.
Cloudia -- Shows us a few great things about Hawaii.
Barrie Summy -- Does a bit of BUMming around in San Diego, California.
Mary Nix -- Takes us through the woods at Olmsted Falls, Ohio.
Debra -- Warms things up with a look at the Village of Peninsula, Ohio.
Junosmom -- Is chugging along about her Kentucky town's hidden secrets.
Chris -- Rings in the Chinese New Year from ... you guessed it Hong Kong, China.
Kristina -- Posts from the wrong side of the tracks in Kentucky.
Barbara Martin -- Is quacking this week about Toronto, Canada.
David Cranmer -- Freely admits he's the second most famous person from Freeville, New York.
Chuck -- Takes us between the lanes in his Kentucky town.
Terrie Farley Moran -- Settles in at North Fort Myers, Florida.
Patti Abbott -- Rings the bell of truth about a movie set in her town, Detroit, Michigan.
J Winter -- From the comfort of his Cincinnati, Ohio home J tells us what he won't do for My Town Monday.
D -- Jumps aboard the My Town Monday train with an introduction to Cloquet, Minnesota
Passage Of Woman -- Does her part to preserve a bit of Kingston, Tennessee.
Lauren -- Offers up a look at Chicago, Illinois wild side -- The Lincoln Park Zoo.
Wendy Pinkston Cebula -- Dishes up a post on Springfield, Missouri


Jenn Jilks said...

Glad you're back, Travis! I wrote about the birds in my town!

amelia bedelia said...

That was a great post! And so true. Nice Pig!

Barrie said...

Welcome back, Travis! Child #4 could not believe the size of that pig. Love the pic of you as a senior! post is up: it's about Bum, San Diego's official dog.

Charles Gramlich said...

I never showed pigs but I did show calves at the county fair. I got a couple of lesser ribbons.

debra said...

SO glad you're back, Travis! My post is up.

Barbara Martin said...

Great post, Travis. I used to teach 4H classes in equestrian lessons: western equitation and junior jumping. My mother and her brothers used to show hogs and calves at the local fairs, and if the animal did particularly well in the show ring, my grandfather took them by train from central Alberta to the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto. Sometimes the animals did well there, too.

My MTM post will be up around 9pm.

Barbara Martin said...

I forgot to mention, why have you removed the blog archives from your blog. I had been reading some of your previous posts and hadn't quite finished when it disappeared.

preTzel said...

It kinda looks like that pig bitch - slapped ya Trav. :)

Work. Work. And then more work. That is what is required when taking care of show animals. I did my fair share of it back in the day. I didn't show them though - my dad did. I just did all the work. ;)

PS: I can call myself a carnivorous bitch and say I love lettuce because I do love it and love it with my meat. :D

Anonymous said...

Jeez Travis, I go away for a bit and come back to catch up only to find that your life has been a bit stressful as of late! So, so sorry that you and your family had to go through such a devastating experience. Even though no one was hurt (except for the poor little turtle) I can only imagine how heartbreaking it must be to lose your home:(

Design Goddess said...

Do you wonder how those kids are doing in life these days? I mean, with mommy and daddy buying their success as a child, you have to wonder how they turned out as adults.

Loved the pic of you with your prize pig! :)

Unknown said...

Thanks you for sharing this.. as well as your childhood memories. I liked this post a lot!

David Cranmer said...

I'm from farm country myself and your post and pics was like going home. My MTM will be up shortly and
btw those are some serious rosy cheeks!

Robin said...

What do you do with a prize winning pig? Eat him more slowly? (Like the old joke, "A pig like this, you don't eat all at once!")

Cloudia said...

Though we grew up in different, shall we say 'environs' your post touched me and reminded me. My dad had a cleaning business, so I went out early in the morning or late at night to clean places that my schoolmates never saw after-hours. They probably didn't have that experience of work, work till you're so tired that you sleep in the truck between jobs. I learned about work, about co-workers, most of whom were much older and of different backgrounds than me. It was invaluable. Sometimes I tried to get work for my friends. Most of them washed out quick. "Some people don;t know what work is." My Dad would say. . . Glad you're back. Thanks for including me in MTM! Aloha-

Junosmom said...

Travis, I have my MTM post up now. Thank you for the offer to continue to host, it is most generous you. As we agreed, however, I will reliquish it back to you.

For those of you that don't know, it does take some effort for Travis to do MTM - watching the comments to get the links up quickly, visiting the blogs to see what was posted, commenting there. It is all well worth the effort but want to acknowledge that I know Travis is making this effort weekly. Thanks for the chance to walk in your MTM host shoes for awhile. Anytime you need a break, I'll be happy to sub for you.

Natasha Fondren said...

Lots of Ohioans! I keep promising...

I never got to do the 4H thing, except for some craft stuff. I don't even know if that was 4H, but it was at the fair. I didn't win anything, LOL. :-)

But it sure was fun! Remember all the free stuff? There was a whole barn of free stuff! Most of it was junk, but we were young; we didn't care. It was FREE!

Kristina said...

I'm glad you're back, Travis. I've written about the train.

Sepiru Chris said...


My MTM post is up. Glad you are back.


Linda McLaughlin said...

Hi Travis, glad you're back and thanks for the insight into your 4-H years. I'd have loved to see a photo of you asleep with your head on your pig. I'm glad you had some success despite not looking good in a hair bow. ;) (No MTM for me this week, I'm afraid. Still having back problems.)


Barbara Martin said...

After a bit of a struggle with Blogger mine is finally up.

chuckmccky said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
chuckmccky said...

My MTM "Between the Lanes" is up. It is about the land between the lanes of our Interstate.

That Janie Girl said...

Welcome back, senor! Amelia Bedelia was at the stock show this weekend, too...though she lives in Dalhart.

I sort of miss stock showing. Elder Son showed steers, everywhere. We traveled all.the.time.

Robin said...

Great post, we had our stock show recently as well (our business bought a pig!) I know what you mean about "buying" a win though! I showed up to rodeo's with a 16 year old horse in a 15 foot stock trailer pulled by a 1978 Ford Econoline Van!....didn't make my horse slower though!

I also won reserve champion in my county with a "spotted New hollland china" that!

I loved my pigs, I just never looked far enough ahead to realize that I was raising them for meat! That sucked, I made them pets the first year, big mistake!

I agree it's a great learning tool for responsibility for our young neighbors son won junior showmanship for goats! He was crazy proud and he worked hard. (he got grand and resereve last year so kina of a let down?) He got a buckle and texted me though, he was still pretty tickled!

Thanks for the post and the memories you brought back, namely, that I used to look HOT in rockies....but still don't have a belt buckle~!

Lana Gramlich said...

"Grooming the pig" that what they're calling it now? ;) *LOL* Sorry, couldn't help myself!

Bee said...

You were a rosy-cheeked boy! So much sweetness in this, Travis.

Terrie Farley Moran said...

Welcome back to MTM, Travis.

I have an MTM post on WoM about North Fort Myers, Florida.


pattinase (abbott) said...

I have one up, Travis. And this was pretty detailed for someone just coming off a fire.

Tena Russ said...

Hi Travis :-)

Last summer my husband and I went to the State Fair in Sheboygan, WI. It was a blast! Your photos reminded me of that time, and especially of one little pig, whom I mentally nicknamed Wilbur because he was so smart. He was trying to open the lock on his enclosure by nudging it with his nose. I felt really attached to that pig. I know pigs are just bacon to some people, but a smart pig like that shouldn't end up in a frying pan. Sniff.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Welcome back! Blog bling waiting for you over at my place if you collect/display such stuff. :)

Crystal Phares said...

I showed pigs in high school, and yes, I wore the tight Rockies, but that was how you wore them back then! I couldn't show many pigs, I got too attached and named the stupid things.

The first one I sold, the guy had to lie to me and tell me he was going to keep her for a sow. I know now he was just trying to save my feelings, but I couldn't eat bacon for years!!!!

Glad you're back, Travis!

writtenwyrdd said...

Sounds like you BUFF pigs to groom them? Who woulda thought...

Hope things are improving on the house front. It sucks to rent, but at least you have a roof over your heads now.

alex keto said...

I think it's just great the hog didn't object to sleeping with you but that's probably cause you'd had a shower. Very fair minded.
heh heh heh
On a more serious note, nice post.

Lauren said...

Welcome back to MTM. I always enjoy reading about your corner of the world.

I wrote about Chicago's free Lincoln Park Zoo.

Interesting to read about the Livestock show. Sounds like you have some great memories and life lessons from your own experiences. Brings back memories of my own 4H days--but I didn't do animals--I usually did 4 non-animal events. Crafts and Bike Rodeo were my favorites.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Welcome back, Travis. I enjoyed reading about your pig!

I have my post up. I wrote about preserving history in my town.

(Sorry about deleting the other comment. It had typos.)


Anonymous said...

Love the MTM idea, I am a travel freak always looking at the Atlas or playing around on Mapquest. Thanks for the idea! I will be posting about my lil town every Monday that I remember!

Anonymous said...

Welcome back, Travis. Cute pig you had there.

Thanks for getting my post up before I even told you!

Stacy said...

Did you try to put ribbons in your hair? It might have been quite fetching. :)

Reb said...

Welcome back Travis. Great post. I was a city kid, but a lot of my friends did 4H stuff. I hear you on the "buying" the ribbon though.

Virginia Lady said...

Definitely a different upbringing from mine. I'm a suburbanite, born and raised. I think we visited a few farms though. Sounds like you made some good memories.

Vodka Mom said...

That is fantastic, Travis! We live near the Centre County Grange Fairgrounds, which is home to the oldest camping fair in the world. I was the freelance writer this year that did most of the profiles and articles for the Grange Fair Insert that was in the paper for the week long event! It was exciting, and I spent a lot of time with many of the children who show animals and adults who were involved in all aspects of the Fair. It was an incredible experience!

Grace said...

Nice photos, Travis. I enjoyed reading your post a lot. I will be looking forward for the next monday for another chapter of your "My town Monday" :)