If showing cattle was an Olympic sport

Cyndi’s Two Cents

If showing cattle was an Olympic sport


My husband and I do not have children of our own, thus no grandchildren of our own.  For years, we’ve referred to those young people who choose to spend time with us as “Other People’s Kids” or “OPKs”.  Several of our OPKs now have children of their own, and we have been blessed to be a part of their lives.

For about 10 days in early August, one of them stayed with us during our county fair and in the days leading up to our state fair. This 13-year-old lives 3 hours away and spends much of her summer working with cattle and exhibiting at cattle shows in her home area and surrounding counties.  She has purchased some of her show calves from us and we have some in partnership with her, so we welcome the opportunity to have her participate in our county fair cattle show.

Once the county fair was over, it was time to focus on final preparations for state fair competition.

Kenzie and my husband spent hours together in the barn working with the show cattle. They spent time evaluating our cow herd, reading through sire directories to determine which bulls will work best on various heifers, and discussing the pros and cons of different stall gates, grooming products, show sticks and clippers. 

I told one of my friends that Kenzie is a younger, female version of my husband.  They love to show cattle, but they are cattle breeders at heart.

During the time that Kenz was staying with us, she would check in on the Tokyo Olympic games when there was a lull in the “action”. Sometimes we would watch with her and other times she would report back to us.

On the final day of the summer Olympics, Kenz and I were alone in the barn washing show calves (or as she likes to call it “spa day”) when she wondered aloud what it would be like if showing cattle was an Olympic sport. I asked her to tell me more. 

In Kenzie Milligan’s opinion, if showing cattle was an Olympic sport, both the animal and the exhibitor’s athletic ability would need to be taken into consideration.  The exhibitor, she explained, is the leader and the cattle are followers.

The animal’s movement, muscle, agility, frame, condition, structure, soundness, and performance would be judged, but the exhibitor would be responsible for the overall presentation.

As with any Olympic athlete, there must be great commitment to training and a great coach. Good genetics, finding the right feed and getting started with training as soon as possible in the animal’s life is key.  They must be trained to wear a halter, to be led and to be set up in a way that best shows its strengths and downplays any weakness.

Kenzie added that having the right show stick is important, as is a commitment to daily hair care.  She said both the animal and the exhibitor should be well rested, trust each other, and be fully prepared for each event.

Our little Olympian and her cattle have had a successful summer, receiving the equivalent of gold, silver, and bronze medals as well as a few showmanship buckles, banners, and trophies.