Show Day This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

May 16, 2010
I smell the fresh scent of cows as I see a blanket of darkness cover the barn. I lay there trying to sleep, but cannot because of the sound of cows as they rustle and moo during the night. After a few hours of sleep I can start to see the sun peek over the horizon. This is the start of show day at 4-H dairy-roundup.

I get up and check my heifer to see if she’s in need of any food or water. Marvel seems happy and content. Next, I untie the rough, green halter from the gate and lead my heifer over to the washing area. I grab a bucket, brush, soap, and a toothbrush to shine her hooves. The water feels cold like rain when it touches my skin. I fill up the bucket with water and soap to rinse my heifer off. I can see her cringe at the cold water as it dances across her back. This wakes her up and gets her looking sharp for the show.

Her red and white fur looks shiny, silky, and smooth. Her hooves are glowing as she walks. I am pleased with my wash job. After using Clorox to brighten and fluff up her fur, her tail looks as white as snow. She flings her tail, making droplets of water fly through the air. Now, she is almost ready for the show.

I reach for the clippers and plug them in. The noise fills the barn as I work on touching up her top line. I carefully glide the clippers along her back cautiously, since Marvel is prone to kicking. She looks beautiful and I can’t wait to lead her into the show ring.

Before it’s time to enter, I do the finishing touches. As the brush moves through her fur, flakes of dirt and straw fall off. She knows what to expect since this is her second year coming to the show. She appears calm and patient as the competitors are anticipating the competition.

The announcer calls my class and I lead her into the ring with a steady, graceful pace. The judge walks slowly inspecting each animal, from their hooves all the way up to their ears. She checks for dairy body type and structure of the animals. I struggle to keep the judge in view since Marvel is towering over me. I feel like a small child trying to see over a crowd. I position her back legs to the correct stance when the judge looks my way. The minutes drag by as I wait and anticipate who will win a ribbon.

The judge walks over to the microphone and proudly announces how she likes my heifer’s body type and is excited to see her next year as a cow. Smiling, I accept the ribbon as the flash of a camera blinds my eyes. I lead her back to a bed of straw, so she can rest. Lovingly, I give her a pat on the head and thank her for a great performance.

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