This is more than a winner photo.
It is a testament to friendship and how there is more to life than just winning.
This event, and photo, took place at the Colorado Junior Swine Association’s sanctioned show in Pueblo, yesterday. The Anthony Ingo Memorial Show consists of two shows, in one day, at the Colorado State Fairgrounds. It is the final event of the CJSA jackpot season, wrapping up 13 shows in seven weekends.
The two youngest boys, Landon Coryell (second to the left) and Parker Franz (second to right), are CJSA rookies this year. Alek Muhr (center) and Tanner Fetzer (far right) are veteran CJSA members, and are recent high school graduates. Less than three months ago, the older two didn’t even know the younger two boys. But, through showing against one another, week after week, Landon, Parker, Alek and Tanner have developed a bond of brotherhood, that will last long after their show careers are done.
Yesterday, Landon developed a high fever while at the show. After attempts to reduce his fever were useless, he was rushed to Urgent Care – leaving behind his pigs. Landon had shown at every single show of the jackpot circuit, so having to leave before his final show was heartbreaking. His fees were paid, his animals were in the barn and ready to go, but he was physically too sick to show.
News of Landon’s emergency spread through the barn. And, what happened next would make any parent proud. Landon’s friends – his fellow competitors – stepped up and offered to show his pigs, for him. He WOULD finish the season, even if he physically couldn’t do it himself.
Parker, Alek and Tanner stepped up and showed Landon’s pigs. And, they showed them like they were theirs – working hard to showcase each animal to the judge. These young men worked as a team, and Landon’s pig was selected as Champion Light Cross, and selected as 4th Overall of the show by judge Jacob Edmond of Oklahoma.
I’ll admit, there were a few teary eyes yesterday watching these boys work together for a common goal. And, they waited around until Landon made it back from the hospital to take the above photo…together…as a band of brothers.
Folks, that right there is why we show livestock. It isn’t for the ribbons or the banners. We do it for the life skills that our children LEARN, and most importantly, DEMONSTRATE, both in and out of the show ring: teamwork, compassion for others, generosity, sportsmanship, helpfulness, kindness and the value of being (and having) a good friend.
These young men are the type of role models our children need. In an age of self-absorbed celebrities, and the media’s all-out war on traditional morals and values, Heaven knows we need help surrounding our kids with the right kind of friends, and adults.
I looked around the show barn yesterday, and lost count of the number of babies, toddlers and preschoolers who were there watching, and soaking in all of the activities of the day.
Many of them were being toted around, or playing with older showmen. Most of these children aren’t related, or even from the same town or county… but they have became one big, extended family thanks to showing livestock.
Friends & Family: This is why we show livestock. We live, work and show…as a family. You may think we are “stick-in-the-mud parents” by not spending our summer going to Disney World or on some exotic vacation. You may be upset when we miss social events because chores require us to be home. And your commentary of “Feed them later” or “Just skip walking pigs tonight”, fall on deaf ears. We are teaching our children life lessons here. You may not understand it now, but we hope you will SEE the results of our actions in the behavior of our children.
Show Organizers: This is why we support and attend your jackpot shows. Your events are weekend family retreats for us, where we surround our children with like-minded kids. We enjoy traveling to your venue, and spending money in your community in the form of hotel rooms, fuel, meals and when a certain child forgets to hang his show clothes in the tack room of the trailer – we even buy clothing. We want you to sanction your show(s), because we know that will draw the best competitors and the toughest pigs. We want to earn success and better our skills, by showing against the best of the best.
Breeders: These are the kids you want showing your animals. They are good kids, both in and out of the show ring. Hard work and challenges don’t phase them. They realize things don’t go their way all the time, and when they get beat, they go home and work twice as hard. These young people will be future leaders in not just their communities, but also in the livestock industry.
To the parents of these four young men, you have done your job well. When our own children talked about this event again this morning, I knew we had to share the story of your sons. You should be proud of them, and know they have kids and adults talking about them for all the right reasons. We know they are well on their way to becoming exceptional men, as well.
Landon’s Light Cross is sired by BONE BOOSTER. Raised by us, and bought on the farm this Spring.