Showing at the June Classic Jackpot in Hotchkiss, Colorado has become a summer tradition for me. Ten years in the ring at the end of a halter, then two years at the end of a pen recording placings. Every year, I see old friends and make new ones. This year was no different. I caught up with showmen from all over Colorado I have not seen since last fall, cheered on Kylie Poole from Salida when she won the Market Beef Show and met new Hotchkiss FFA Alumni members.
One thing grasped my attention, though. Usually, after any show, everyone is tired and ready to go home. But not today. After the lamb show, a younger showman asked the judge, Catharine Koroulis, for help bracing her lamb. For a good five minutes, Catharine worked directly with the girl.
As they say, you never stop learning.
Jackpots offer the chance to take your animals to strange locations with weird sounds and new animals. Getting to practice the timing of getting your calves fit so you’re not late to the class, but not so early the calves are tired and try to lay down in the ring; maneuvering clippers or shears; experiencing the rush of the Grand Drive more than once a year are all different aspects included in going to jackpots. They are also educational times to learn new tips to better prepare yourself or your animal. Listening to the judge’s comments in showmanship and breeding/market classes can give you an extra suggestion to propel yourself to win the Grand Champion belt buckle.
Winning your class or even the whole show makes any jackpot great. But taking the time to hone in on your showing capabilities and learning how to better present your animal makes jackpots more than just another show.