Hang in there, moms and dads. Only one more week until the Crook County Fair. That annual occasion when we parents come face-to-face with the final verdict of whether (or not) our kid's prized 4-H project will run, like a maniac, through the fairgrounds and never make it into the actual show ring. That is, until next year, when we do it all over again.
I know. You think you'll never sign up for this insanity again, but you will. The parents always do. And then, one day, all your kids will age out of the 4-H and FFA programs, and you'll miss the chaos of spending two days trying to load hogs into a trailer and the friendly faces who seem to know all the answers at the local feed store. But you won't miss the tearful goodbyes at the Buyer's Breakfast while the butcher trailers are loaded up because no one ever misses that blubber-fest.
I plan to show up at the livestock auction on Saturday, August 7th, at noon to throw my bidder number in the air as many times as possible without buying anything. Because I may not be a 4-H leader or working over a hot, greasy stove in the snack bar, but I'll do my level best to make sure Les Schwab and Facebook give your kid, or grandkid, the highest price-per-pound possible. You're welcome.
Consider this your pre-game pep-talk! You've got this, parents. In a few days, you'll be able to stop nagging the kids about putting the final touches on their baked goods entry and fall asleep at night without wondering if they started the arduous task of cleaning the crud out of their animal's ears with a Q-Tip. All the fragmented little pieces will come together, but it will mostly be thanks to your devoted 4-H leader, so remember to get that saint-of-a-person a gift card or something!
I'll be cheering for your kid from the livestock sale bleachers and marveling at how polished and professional they look. Even though we both know there's a comb tucked in your back pocket and an extra shirt hanging somewhere nearby in case the one your kid puts on, 15 minutes before showtime, ends up covered in red snow-cone syrup. These are the small, everyday tasks that make up your sacred work. You are shaping and preparing these kids for a life of good character and accountability, one showmanship and market class at a time, and their future employers and co-workers will thank you someday.
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