While threats of a civil unrest in all 50 states blasts from every news channel, there is a hope for the future happening at the 2021 Atascosa County Livestock Show. Showing livestock and growing up around stock shows is an impactful and lifechanging experience for youth. Showing livestock leaves a child with valuable lessons and lifetime memories.
At the ACLS, future leaders learning life’s lessons in the ring and the barn are spending this week showing the “animals” of their labors. This show breeds youth who will become future leaders of America and their community.
I watched 60-pound young boys and girls with only a show halter and show stick guide a 1,000 pound plus animal in the ring while competing against their peers and being judged on how their animal looked and how they could handle them in the ring. There are so many moments I love at stock shows, but one that always makes me smile is, win or lose, the youth shake the judge’s hand and look them in the eye and say “thank you.” They also hug and congratulate those they “lost” to in the ring. COVID-19 has cut down this year on the hand shakes and hugs so I am greatly missing that part, but even this “damndemic” cannot take the light and love out of this huge community agribusiness event.
The Pleasanton Express is so honored to cover the ACLS show from Ag mechanics to showing and the sale. You are a part of America at its best during the six-day show. Showing animals is truly a family affair. This year, COVID 19 has cut down the crowds of grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends attending so the crowd is not dense. But the pandemic has not diminished the spirit of the event and it is a joy to watch kids mentor kids and parents watch nervously and with excitement as their children show their skills in the ring. Every member of the family has a role when their child shows an animal. The bonds built in the family and between child and animal is a thing of beauty. The youth learn responsibility, time management, confidence, patience, team work, how to deal with challenges and competition, financial sense, leadership, values and a strong work ethic just to name a few.
These youth learn that success does not come from what you do occasionally, it comes from what you do consistently. What a great life lesson needed in our leaders today and in the future. I love this livestock show saying and it is evident as each youth enters the ring, “Practice like you’ve never won, perform like you’ve never lost.”
Thank you to the sponsors of this show and to all the buyers who will be attending the sale Saturday. The monies raised during this show provide valuable scholarships to our youth. It is one of the best ways you can give back to this community and our world. If you want to be a buyer please go to www.aclsweb.org for information. You do not need to be at the sale in person to become a buyer. Watch for coverage of both the ACLS Show and the McMullen Livestock Show all of January in the Pleasanton Express, both print and digital, and on social media.
NOEL WILKERSON HOLMES is the Publisher and Managing Editor of the Pleasanton Express. You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.