Walking out the door as the cold fall morning bites at your nose, the animals are waiting. Day in and day out they meet at the same place, every morning and every night, knowing exactly what is in your hands.
As the rustling around in the barn erupts, the sound of grain mixing, making sure the rations are perfect, or close enough for 5:00 am, slowly makes them more and more anxious. Before the feed pan is all the way in, they go right to eating, making sure to not miss a single piece. As you pull pans, and put everything back where it goes, or close enough, you can’t help but think about the end, The Greatest Show.
Time passes, though not quick enough, you trudge out every morning and every night. The end is in sight. As the feed supply dwindles, and your animal matures, The Greatest Show becomes the only thing you can think about.
Animals need to be clipped, trailer bedded, loaded with feed and tack, set a reminder not to forget the feed scoop, and suitcases need to be loaded. Oh, and don’t forget your room has to be clean before you can leave, thanks Mom.
Day 1. Move in. Beds are made, trailers are parked, animals are settled, and it feels like nap time… it’s only day one. The time comes, and even though they can’t wait for you, they are just as anxious as you are for the next couple days.
Day 2. Show day. 4:00 am came too quick, as it always does. Headed to the barns with tired eyes, and a racing mind, as you mentally prepare yourself for the long day ahead. Washed, dried, fed, clipped, fit, watered, its all checked off the list. You change into the freshly starched jeans and a pressed shirt. The time is now. Headed to the ring. Wait there’s something on your face, don’t worry, Mom’s got it… in front of everyone.
Game face. Now’s the time. Your nerves are so high you can barely think, let alone focus. Made it past the sift. Top 5. Class Winner. Division Champion. Dust settles, now to show one more time. Breed Champion. Now to wait, for the coveted Thursday night showcase. It still hasn’t set in, you have earned a spot in the Grand Drive. Washed, dried, fed, clipped, fit, and watered, one more time. Give your parents a hug, then head towards the limo.
All of the champions are talking off their nerves, or trying to. They call your name, it’s your turn to load into the limo. Crawling into the over packed limo, the nerves begin to climb. No amount of preparation could have prepared you for this. After all the hard work at home, the day you’ve been dreaming of is here. Thousands of eyes, all on you. Kass calls your name, your time has come.
The crowd is watching every step, don’t trip, don’t fall. The first step into the spotlight, you glance up and see everyone in arena. You wave just like you practiced, time and time again, both hands in the air. The trek is made on the red carpet to the middle of the ring. Trophies drop. There it is. Your trophy.
– Written by Kelsey Vejraska and Kane Kinion