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Don’t Blink

5:30 am and your alarm is screaming at you. You drag yourself out of bed, hustle down to feed, rinse, work hair, and then it’s back inside to get ready and head off to school. Grab a pop tart on the way out the door and you are ready for the day. The night before was full of catching up on missed school work, which never seems to disappear, and trying to get ahead for the next time the trailer pulls out of the driveway on a Thursday evening. 

Chasing white lines seems to be a habit. Every weekend, hitting district and jackpot shows just trying to prepare your animals for the Superbowl of all junior livestock shows. The constant practice, hair and hide upkeep, cleaning, and other chores may seem like a bother on the days where you’d rather just hit the snooze button, but the show must go on. 

Yet again, another show is right around the corner, however this time it’s the one you’ve been preparing for all year, The Greatest Show. You’ve got your game face on, and were still a month out.

The time is ticking down, entries are due and before you know it you’re loading tack, bedding the trailer, trying to find the missing feed scoop that you use every day, which is now mysteriously gone, getting clothes from the cleaners, still trying to get ahead on school work, find your boots, and don’t forget to go through your checklist on more time. 

Down the road to State Fair Park, snacks in hand, vet papers ready and all of the animals completely dialed in. The drive, whether you’re coming thirty minutes from Guthrie, or three and half hours from Idabel, can’t go by quick enough. All of your friends are on their way and the time seems to pass slower and slower until the truck and trailer turn down Portland Ave.

Rolling onto the fairgrounds, you see your best friends, who are also your best competition. Whether you see each other every weekend, or only once a year, you always pick up right where you left off. But when it’s time to step into the ring, game on.

To the senior awaiting the last time to make it into the big house, or praying to make it through the sift pen, don’t stress. You’ve made it this far; the rest is the fun part. Always remember, there’s someone out there watching you, little eyes on you hoping they can be just like you some day. Be a positive role model. Be your authentic self. 

To the 8-year-old with your eyes on that senior, follow their footsteps wisely. Take note of their dedication and work ethic. Follow your own dreams and chase your passions. Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone. Find your niche. Always have the end goal in sight. Never be afraid to be the real you. You will appreciate that when you blink and all of a sudden, you’re the senior with little eyes watching your every move.