Farmer's Daughter: Ak-Sar-Ben 9.29.14
This past weekend, my family went to the Ak-sar-ben stock show in Nebraska. This show is only for 4-H members, and my sister was going to show her heifer she had been working with all summer. Listen to this week's radio segment about Ak-Sar-Ben below!
For us, going to a cattle show is like going on vacation. We couldn’t take time off the farm to go to Disney World or Hawaii, so the next best was thing was leaving the farm for a few days to go to a show. Unlike a typical vacation we still had to get up early to do chores, but most of the time we were still able to stay in a hotel, go swimming, and spend time with friends.
Ak-Sar-Ben is held in Omaha and is the largest 4-H show in the nation, with participants from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming. In addition to beef cattle, participants showed sheep, goats, dairy cattle, rabbits, and poultry. You can view photos of the stock show and River City Rodeo on Facebook, too. Link to; https://www.facebook.com/RiverCityRodeo
Following a 5 hour drive, we arrived at the arena at approximately 9pm. After unloading the trailer, feeding the cattle, and feeding ourselves we finally got to bed at about 11:30pm.
We were up early the next morning to feed and wash our heifer, and then we were able to take in the show on Saturday. Finally it was Sunday — show day! We got up early to feed, wash, and groom our heifer. My sister nervously entered the ring leading her heifer at about 10:30am. A few minutes later she left the show ring having received 3rd place in her class and a blue ribbon.
All of this seems like a lot of work for just a few minutes in front of the judge! Despite the short time in the show ring, cattle shows were important to us for three reasons. First, they promoted the type of animals we raised on our farm. Second, they taught us how to work with livestock. Third, they taught us to win or lose graciously.
Even though our typical family vacation sounds like it was a lot of work, it was still a lot of fun. Most importantly, these vacations provided me with memories that will last a lifetime.