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Indiana State Fair heifer, steer judges stir crowd with comments

Indiana State Fair heifer, steer judges stir crowd with comments
Indiana State Fair judges' comments about spirituality and moral character were met with applause.

Winners of the various grand drives announced earlier in the Indiana State Fair were tweeted, uploaded and available within minutes.

What wasn't available so readily was comments that two judges made that had nothing to do with the quality of livestock they were judging. Those comments had to do with what's important in life and moral values.

Related: What people say and what they do about environment two different things

It was a politically incorrect night at the Indiana State Fair by some people's judgment, and by the applause and reaction of the crowd most people inside the Indiana Farmers Coliseum appreciated it.

What really matters? Many judges say it's lessons learned about life that help mold leaders out of youngsters, not purple banners and big pay days.

Wes Hudson, the 4-H beef heifer judge from Arkansas, took the microphone and before he talked cattle, he talked about life.

He went straight to the point. "Whatever happens in this ring in a few minutes is not important. Winning or losing is not why we're here. I've been successful at various things in my life. Then I stand back and wonder if that's what's really important to me – it's not.

"Who are you living for?" he asked both the young people in the ring and the people outside the ring. "That's what's important. When you lose someone in life, like I did when I lost my father a couple years ago, you think about what's really important.

"To me, it's Jesus Christ, my Lord and savior."

Walking the ring and turning to the audience in the stands, Hudson continued, urging them to consider the message of Jesus, and getting their lives in order.

Related: Why farmers show livestock, and other tales from the show ring

It was the second time this year we've heard a judge not afraid to share his beliefs on the public address system at a fair. The person judging goats at the Johnson County Fair took time to impart a similar message earlier this summer.

When Jim Williams, the 4-H beef steer judge from Boling, Texas, took the microphone before picking the grand champion, reserve and other top representatives out of the excellent steers in the ring before him, he also had some poignant comments. He thanked the people behind the scenes who put the show together, and he also thanked the young people, all the exhibitors, for being courteous and dedicated during the entire show.

Then he said what many people in rural Indiana long to hear but seldom do. "What I appreciate most about judging a show like this at the Indiana State Fair is that the exhibitors, the young people out here, are dedicated. The boys still look like boys, and the girls still look like girls.  That's the way it was when I was growing up, and that's the way it should be now."

Related: Show respect for the FFA boys and girls in blue jackets

His reference to "boys look like boys and girls look like girls" drew applause from the crowd.

I don't know about you, but I'll remember these comments from both of these judges long after I forget who won or lost in the show ring.

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