This weekend was the culmination of months of work. All the kids who had placed in the first and second place of the district dairy shows came together for the PA State Competition. As dairy cow newbies, we had no idea what we were getting into.
Cows were washed more that day than the kids had been washed in a week! Snipping, clipping, combing, and primping took up most of the day. Words being tossed around like throating, topline, for which I had no idea of the meaning: an entirely new lingo of which my kids were familiar, but I was just plain ignorant.
All in all they had a great time! For months, the kids have spent endless hours caring, leading, and setting up their calves. Although most of them (cows or kids) didn't place high enough to move on in competition but that didn't matter.
True... there were tears - some of the kids had to contend with heifers who were just kids themselves. And although I am naive to the bovine culture, I believe it is difficult-if not impossible-to train a calf to walk, stand, and pose reliably.
But I think the kids--even the seasoned veterans--came away from the experience with feelings of accomplishment. After all, they made it this far.
And they should be proud. They have committed themselves to a noble cause, continuing a time-honored tradition of dairy farming if only for a year or two. Even though they may choose as adults not to pursue this career (it may not even be an option by then), they will understand exactly what is involved in the day to day operations of a dairy farm. Because they have been there and have done the work, side-by-side with the farmer.