A busy & productive start to 2021!

Busy would be an understatement, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. This month we the Manatee County hosted its 103rd fair. That means I was able to break out my shiny crown and leather sash for two whole weeks! First was the beef heifer show and showmanship. Now, I have met many livestock judges in my life, but hands down, Mr. Terry was the best judge I have ever met. Not only was he a very knowledgeable judge, but he was also absolutely amazing to our youth and was beyond encouraging to them every time they stepped foot into the ring. The beef week was by far my favorite (not because I’m the CATTLEmens sweetheart or anything… wink wink). It was filled with amazing exhibitors that you could visibly tell were passionate about the industry. That Saturday was the sale, and I can say that I was overwhelmed with pure joy and humbled by the amount of support that businesses have for our youth. There was not a steer that went for less than $4 a pound. How awesome is that?? The Manatee County Cattlewomen handed announced their Herdsman Award winners who will receive prize money, and the first-place winner received a custom belt buckle.

Next was the dairy show. Now, let me remind you, this was my first ever dairy show that I have watched. Yes, that isn’t very pleasant to admit, but it’s the truth. But I have to say, I LOVED IT. The heifers and cows were just so cute, and the exhibitors showing their cattle were just as dedicated and passionate as I expected.

In between the nights spent at the fair, I managed to fit in some homework and still work full time. Yes, it was tiring, but every second was worth it.

On the last Saturday of the fair, our very own, Mr. Cully, hosted his annual whip popping contest, and it was a huge success. Seeing kids of all ages pop their whips in front of a crowd for 45 seconds gave me hope for the future. Knowing that our country is still tied up enough with our roots, they are instilling valuable skills in their children that we can never let die.

Lastly was the swine sale. Let’s say, by the end of these two weeks, the cameraman, Mr. Ted, and I were very close. We cracked jokes and made sure that each kid’s picture looked the best. A huge thank you to Mr. Ted for being an excellent photographer. He was even gracious enough to snap a few headshots for me for the Florida Cattlemen’s Sweetheart in June.

Now, this is the place where I will get sappy. For me and many other families that have raised their kids in the fair, this was my family’s last one. My sister, Billie Michelle, is a senior this year. I think I was more upset that it was our last year as a family than she was. But I can say without a shadow of a doubt that these years have been nothing but full of memories, lessons, friendships, and life skills that I hope to instill in my own kids one day.

This was a very special and memorable fair for me. Not only was I able to represent a county that I love as the Sweetheart, but I was also able to share this special moment with my family as we completed our last project at the fair.

Sidenote: I am currently selling raffle tickets for one of two $250 beef gift cards. The tickets are $1 apiece, and all of the proceeds fund the Florida Cattlemen’s Sweetheart. Message me on one of the Manatee County Cattlemen’s Sweetheart pages to purchase. Speaking of sweethearts, We are now in the month of love! Still, looking for that special gift for someone? Purchase them a handful of raffle tickets and a chance to win a $250 beef gift card.

I love you all, thank you for reading my blog, and don’t forget to EAT BEEF!

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