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What happens to a devoted show mom when there is no showman.

Mindy Ward, Editor, Missouri Ruralist

August 14, 2017

3 Min Read
BE PREPARED: With the Missouri State Fair upon us, it is a time to reminisce. How will you handle next year when your child is no longer in the show ring? You hope your son or daughter will continue to help the next generation inside and outside of the ring. One thing I know is that both my daughter (center) and I will always come home to the Missouri State Fair.

Hi, my name is Mindy and I am a livestock show addict. It has been one year since I watched my daughter show in a 4-H or FFA livestock competition. Yesterday, I found myself wrapped in a sheep blanket, wandering around the barn with wool card in one hand and a blower hose in the other.

I began to think back to all of those livestock exhibitions. The plans, the preparations and the people. I really need an intervention.

Ten years I paced ringside, watching every move you made; now I can only walk this barn and wonder how it all got away.

Nine years I wished you remembered where you put the spray nozzle for the hose. Was it in the show box or the stock trailer gooseneck? It doesn't matter. There are no more shows.

Eight years I was your non-show side fitter, shaping your sheep the way you requested. Never did I think there would come a time when my hands would feel so well-rested.

Seven years the smell of Tide and lanolin wafted from sheep coats on the laundry room floor. Now, I long for the day the pile grows so big I cannot push open the door.

Six years there was yelling up the stairs, reminding you of watering and feeding to be done. Silence is the only reply now that everyone is gone.

Five years we bought every piece of showgirl jewelry to make a statement in the ring. You failed to realize you had natural sparkle, and you truly didn't need a thing.

Four years you hopped into the driver's seat of the truck with a loaded-down trailer. Rolled down the window, waved and shouted, "I'll see you when you get there. Later." Looking out my door, there is no truck; there is not even a trailer. And I long to yell back once more — "gator."

Three years I waited at the camper for your return from nights with fair friends. The path is quiet; there are no footsteps to my door. All that moves is the wind.

Two years your show life, college and work collided, with you just trying to keep a balance. Take all three out of that equation and where is my relevance?

For just one year, I sat along the sidelines amazed at the showman you'd become. And I knew at that very moment, my work as a livestock show mom was done.

There should be a recovery group for former livestock show moms, a place to talk about our addiction. To our kids and all the years spent with their livestock exhibitions.

Until that day, there is only one relief to my current affliction. I shed that sheep blanket, head to a fair for a little show intervention. Make that climb up the hardwood bleacher, and turn to a show mom as I reach her to say, "Hi, my name is Mindy and I am a livestock show addict."

About the Author(s)

Mindy Ward

Editor, Missouri Ruralist

Mindy resides on a small farm just outside of Holstein, Mo, about 80 miles southwest of St. Louis.

After graduating from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural journalism, she worked briefly at a public relations firm in Kansas City. Her husband’s career led the couple north to Minnesota.

There, she reported on large-scale production of corn, soybeans, sugar beets, and dairy, as well as, biofuels for The Land. After 10 years, the couple returned to Missouri and she began covering agriculture in the Show-Me State.

“In all my 15 years of writing about agriculture, I have found some of the most progressive thinkers are farmers,” she says. “They are constantly searching for ways to do more with less, improve their land and leave their legacy to the next generation.”

Mindy and her husband, Stacy, together with their daughters, Elisa and Cassidy, operate Showtime Farms in southern Warren County. The family spends a great deal of time caring for and showing Dorset, Oxford and crossbred sheep.

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