It’s lingering in the air. The nerves and anxiety from the exhibitors, the parents and the animals. The day has come. It is officially show day at The Greatest Show.
5:00 a.m., yet again, came too early. Swing by McDonald’s, McMuffins just hit the spot when you’re still half asleep, head to the barns, and we’re off to the races. Straight to tie outs as the crisp March morning air bites at your nose. Quickly head to the wash rack and wash the night before off.
Back in the barn, finally out of the wind, time to feed and relax. Or so you think. Make sure tie outs are cleaned, animals get water, stalls are neat and tidy, check class breaks and hang show clothes with care.
An hour passes in the blink of an eye and all of a sudden it’s time to get animals up and ready. The time has come. YOUR time has come. Hogs brushed, heifers blown out, legs pulled. All with the help of a little caffeine to keep you going, shout out to Starbucks.
Break the starch on your jeans, slide into the freshly pressed shirt, grab your animal and to the ring you go. The adrenaline rush as you begin the walk to the ring, with your animal and likely some of your favorite people, keeps you on your toes, life could not get better.
The final look over in the makeup area, making sure your animal is clean, and of course that your face is clean. Don’t worry, mom has it covered. You step under those lights and the nerves settle. Your game face is on, and it’s now your time to show off what you’ve been patiently (well… sort of) waiting for for months.
All of your hard work and dedication. The passion that keeps you awake at night and wakes you up early in the morning. The motivation to strive for your goals. It is in this very moment that you are in control of showcasing it to the crowd.
Whether it is your first ever step into the ring, or your last, it’s the little things in life like those kind of moments that you will treasure forever. Your family trailing you as you head into the ring for the last time. Making it past the sift and on to the hill with a hog you raised entirely at home. Showing under the lights in the big house. Even just spending time with your longest and truest friends.
The memories made on show day will last a lifetime. Take a breath. It’s go time.
— Written by Kelsey Vejraska
The Oklahoma Youth Expo is the largest youth event in the state of Oklahoma. As a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization, more than 7,000 exhibitors, their educators and families travel to Oklahoma City each spring from all of Oklahoma’s 77 counties to exhibit their livestock projects. Throughout the course of the ten-day event, OYE has a $25 million impact on Oklahoma City. For more information about the Oklahoma Youth Expo visit okyouthexpo.com.