Day 14.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving....

I'm giving thanks this month each day on my blog.


Day 14

I'm thankful for having had the opportunity to be on a Livestock Judging Team.

It was this week, eight years ago, I walked out of the West Exhibition Hall at the NAILE in Louisville, KY, not quite sure what to think.

It was all over.

I'd spent the better portion of the year on a roller coaster ride that changed me, stuck with me, and provided me opportunities and experiences I wouldn't have otherwise had.

I had experienced more failure than I knew possible, and cried more tears than I even knew existed.

But I also experienced something that will stick with me forever, and that can't ever be taken away.

I grew as a person, as a livestock evaluator, and as a teammate.

2004 Oregon State University Livestock Judging Team
Back - Clint, Beau, Kyle
 Front - Kerri, Kate, Shannon, Myself & Jamie

I've talked about before how I ended up on the LJT at OSU.

But there are some things that can't be put into words.

Things that can only be experienced in a white 12-passenger van, headed down the middle of the road on the center line in Southern Wyoming into Colorado after judging wool sheep in Laramie at 1:00 am in the morning.

About sharing a room with three other girls, and knowing which side of the bed is "yours".

About having an appreciation for not having to stay in another Super 8, and having two sinks in your hotel room in Fort Worth.

About having your teammate run 2 circles around the van on the interstate median outside of Phoenix, because they couldn't "contain" themselves.  Multiple times.

About how coaches can give so much of themselves to see you succeed.

About how some people can eat a Whopper that's been sitting unrefrigerated underneath the van seat for two days and not get food poisoning.

About how when you're in Texas, it's not a "barrow" - it's a "barra".

About how life skills can be taught outside of the classroom.

About remembering your teammates sing "Mayberry" on the way to Fresno.

About needing a pair of pliers to get out of your judging pants.

About knowing that the team around you was competing viciously for your spot.

And that they were also there to be your biggest fans.


It all "ended" that day eight years ago. 

But it didn't really end.  I don't think it ever will.

Once you've been a member of a judging team - livestock, dairy, horse, etc. - you always know that drive, the passion, fierce competitiveness, the work ethic....

And the comraderie.


Congratulations to the teams & individuals who got their name called yesterday at the Executive West.

And to those of you who didn't - your work & effort wasn't in vain.

You've all been able to experience something many won't ever have the opportunity to.
And you know without explanation why

"Success is Reason Enough"


PS -
A special congratulations to Jake Warnjtes, a fellow Oregonian, who was a member of the 2012 National Champion Judging Team from Oklahoma State University.  We sure enjoyed getting to see you be successful.

And congratulations to Clint Rusk, Clint's coach from his Colorado State days - we're glad you finally got to be a part of a National Championship Team.  It is well deserved.

What are you thankful for today?

Join me (and a whole lot of other people) in giving thanks.
On a blog, on Facebook, a private journal, or a thought kept in your head.

I bet you'll be thankful you did!


  1. Truer words have never been said :)
    great memories!


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