Preparation is the Key to Success!

As many cattle trailers are getting ready to hit the road and head out on their annual trek to Louisville, one of the most important things to remember before pulling out of the driveway is, preparation is the key to success.

We all know how it goes, or how it is suppose to go, if you work hard at home it will all pay off in the end. I do believe this, but when it comes to taking stock to a show there are other things that we tend to overlook that need to be done in order for all of our hard work to even matter. Like the ole saying goes “Success always comes when preparation meets opportunity”

Being properly prepared helps ensure success and that the trip goes off without a hitch. The first step to achieving this is sending in those entries. Clearly, if the entries aren’t done properly and turned in on time it won’t be possible to even take animals to the show. Going hand-in-hand with the entries are the registration papers. Once our entries are done I go through the registration book that we take to shows to make sure papers for the appropriate cattle are in there. I check and then double check that not only are cattle registered but that we have the ORIGINAL version of the papers with us when we pull out of the driveway with the trailer. Black and white photocopies or pages printed off an online registration system aren’t going to cut it when it comes time to check in at the show. You’ll be sadly disappointed at the response you’ll get when you try and hand one of those to a breed representative checking in cattle.

Another thing that won’t get you very far at the show is if your cattle aren’t tattooed. Now I know no one likes getting that green tattoo ink on them or if you happen to have a white heifer, all over her, but you’ll be far more disappointed if you can’t show because you didn’t tattoo your cattle. So, take the time ahead of time and tattoo your animals. If you even question whether or not yours are tattooed get out a rag and a flashlight and check it out for yourself. It is better to be safe than sorry.

The last critical preparation piece that basically determines whether or not your cattle can show or let alone be on the grounds are health papers. The vet is the go-to man that knows what we need and how to get it done. With that being said, make sure you look into this weeks prior to your departure as sometimes additional tests are needed. Regardless, your vet will appreciate you being ahead of the game and we all know we need to keep our vet on our good side.

Entries, registration papers, tattoos and health papers, they are all critical items that need to be taken care of prior to the show. Just like now days it’s pretty hard to buy a drink or get on a plane without proper identification like a passport or drivers license, it is also pretty hard to show your cattle at a show without the proper paperwork.

If you’ve got all that stuff taken care of you shouldn’t have to worry about not being able to show your animals. But one thing you do want to be able to do is not only show them off in the ring but also in the stalls. This is where preparing the proper signage is key. A good eye catching display can make your cattle and operation the talk of the barn. We try to accomplish this by having very readable signs for each animal that include our farm logo and any co-owners, then for the bulls we put on display we create larger eye-catching banners. Whatever you can do to create excitement about your cattle is helpful in promoting them and you.

Finally, once all of that stuff is prepared and taken care of there is only one more thing to do before hitting the road to the big show…PACKING. You have to pack for yourself and for your cattle. This is never a fun task and nine times out of ten it ends up in an argument but once that trailer door is shut and you’re on the road to NAILE, it’s all worth it. One of the best things to help make the packing process go smoothly is to make a list. Put together a list of everything you need ahead of time then just check stuff off as you pack it in the trailer. Heck I have even seen people who have this list and a diagram of how everything should be packed saved on their computer and before each show they just hit print and packing the trailer is a breeze.

I know a lot goes into getting ready for a show and this is just a scratch at the surface, but all things that can be easily over looked. So make sure you are prepared, that way you can enjoy standing on those green shavings and hearing the classic tune coming from the iconic organ man. Best of luck to all and safe travels on your journey to Louisville.

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