Hitting the Jackpot!!!!!-Jackpot checklist (for beginners and continuing learners)
As quarantine is coming to an end, jackpot season is starting to begin! After the struggle of putting on virtual shows and having to take what seems like HOURS to just snap one perfect picture of your crazy sheep, cow, even pig...you finally can start making your way into the show ring! Some of us are still beginners in this show world and others are still learning. I know that I still have to learn a lot myself; however, I have been speaking to some of the best individuals about what tips they recommend that every beginner and continuing showman should do or get for jackpot season! (This is a list of stuff I wish I knew about when I started showing, hopefully this helps you too!)
A water hose filter- yep, you might be wondering why this is needed for livestock. Well, it isn't so they can be pampered, but it is nice to have fresh and clean water at all times for your livestock. Whenever you go to different shows and towns, you never know where the water is coming from so it is always nice to have one on hand. As you go to majors, you'll see these attachments laying around stalls everywhere. (I wish I got one during my show years for sure!)
A 5 Gallon Water Jug....you know the ones they use for offices and such!- You can find these basically anywhere! You don't even need to get one every time it runs empty, but just refill it before you leave for a show! My good sheep friends say that it is handy when you go to jackpots (so you don't have to spend time walking and searching for a water station) AND it is good in case of an unexpected trailer problem on the road (so if you stop for a couple hours, your livestock is taken care of). It seems pretty smart, and definitely would have never thought of that, thanks Stacey:)
Cash!!!- When your youngster wants to do showmanship, always have cash on hand (they take cash as you walk in)! My first jackpot, I did not know what to expect and totally forgot to bring cash to enter myself into showmanship, but I had great friends who got my back and they were ahead of the game. Sometimes, these jackpots even take ONLY cash for entries, so make sure you're a step ahead and have that cash on hand. Sometimes, the shows get so busy that you will have very little time to get what you need together.
Hose- Yep, unfortunately, shows do not provide this and sometimes your week gets so busy you don't have time to wash up your purty hair/wool. It is always nice to have one on hand, for ANY show (majors included)! You can get any kind you want, I just selected one that is compact and easy (just be careful and don't have your livestock step on that one).
CHAIRS- I don't know why I always forgot this one, but I did! Every major and jackpot I COMPLETELY forgot to bring a chair and I totally regretted that decision. Maybe I'm just weird, but for those of you like me, always pack this item the night before!
Trash Bags- It is totally a necessity when the trashcans are full or WAYYYYYY on the other side of the grounds. If you are eating food, drinking soda or water, even taking wrappers off of new show supplies, always have a trash bag on hand so you won't litter and you'll save some time from searching for one!
Always carry an extra T-shirt- Sometimes people will show up in just a show shirt....and boy those get HOT! Make sure to have a tee on hand so you can change in and out of it when handling livestock (so you can keep that shirt for showing nice and clean!)
Well of course any of your sprays, blowers, clippers, etc...but if I started that this post would be a NOVEL! If you don't have something you think you need, ask your ag teacher, call up a friend, or join groups (especially facebook) and ask questions! The facebook group I HIGHLY recommend, you always learn something new and can give advice for others too!!!
Some of the tips I recommend:
Always get there early- especially if you are showing off your trailer, spaces fill up quickly, and usually the later you get there, the farther from the ring you are. Even if you need to pack the night before, make sure you get there at least 30 minutes...or even an hour before check-in. At the end of the day, you'll only want to walk a couple feet compared to walking across the show grounds in the hot sun to get what you need.
Practice showmanship at home- I know that for my friends and me, we analyze our showmanship through videos, pictures, and corrective criticism. Pictures are always good for the visual aspect of correcting yourself, especially after you leave the show ring (a picture can say a million things). By having people that know what they're doing, you can easily ask them to keep an eye on you and give back input on what to improve for next time (even if you feel like you're asking too much, don't be scared to ask! Most of the individuals there enjoy helping others).
If you are a first-timer and are scared of doing showmanship, do it anyways!- You have nothing to lose and you can get great tips from the judge or your peers! I went to one this past week and a breeder's little girl was TERRIFIED to go in and wanted to back out...but we wouldn't let her. At the end of the show, she ended up doing a fantastic job and she had no regrets! After the first time walking in, your nerves go away!
Don't forget to shake the judge's hand....so many individuals forget to do this (especially beginners. It is respectful to thank a judge as you exit the ring, no matter how many kids there are and what place you ended up with.
Always see these times as a learning experience!- Many walk into the ring and are expecting to get placed first every time....well sometimes that isn't always the case. Although you have a driven mindset, just keep in mind that there are always going to be days that are good and others where you'll not perform your best. No matter what place you walk out of the ring with, always carry a good attitude and congratulate those around you. Good sportsmanship is always noticed over the blue ribbons and last place. We are all here to learn, so have fun and maintain healthy competition!
Always ask questions- you can't learn unless you ask questions! If you are running to jackpots with someone and see them doing something you've never seen before, ask! If they know their stuff (and most will), they will gladly explain what their product or method is, how they do it and why they do it! Now, don't forget that every showman has their secrets, so don't feel discouraged if they can't share EVERYTHING with you (you'll get some of your own too, I promise)!
Never forget to cherish the moments- What seemed like a hot day in an annoying long sleeve and running around as a headless chicken has now turned to days that I dearly miss so much. Once you graduate as a senior, things change for you as a showman and you become the shadow to learn more or even a mentor for those who want to learn. So never forget to have fun at these jackpots, cause you'll begin to miss the smallest opportunities of showing one day and you'll want to remember all of the good things!
Long time friend and 2020 Dallas County Teen Miss US AG, Bailey McEntee. One of the girls that has taught me so much about what I know today and has been an additional little sister to me:)
This is the other little sister of mine on the right, Cassey, who is Dallas County Junior Miss United States AG. Even with her being in middle school and me in college, she is still teaching me things that I never knew...crazy smart girl too! The left side is her friend Layla, who is learning more about sheep and showing, like myself!
Know any more MUST NEED tips for jackpots or shows? Comment below and share with some knowledge! Hope you have enjoyed today's blog, tune in next week for a new blog! (I am still figuring out what day to post them, but stay up-to-date with my social media links at the top!)