After the rodeo slack events come to a close over at the Spur Arena, the stock show begins to kick into high gear. I actually like spending time at the stock show even though there is one particular animal that I can't stand to be around... pigs. I don't like the pigs. Of all the animals that are displayed at the stock show it's the pigs that seem to smell the worst, they run wild through the stock barn and their high-pitched squeal/scream really gets on my nerves. As I'm sitting here typing this post I still get the occasional waft of pig stuck to the bottom of my shoes. Yeah, that will be there for the next few weeks no matter how hard I scrub them.
But, the kids who show these animals are fun to hang out with and really put in a lot of effort to care for these animals. The students get their animals early in the year and then feed, exercise and groom them for the upcoming stock shows. There is a tremendous amount of time and effort put into this, almost like caring for a small child. And just because you have an animal at the stock show doesn't necessarily mean you get to compete in the stock show! If you are competing in one of the market shows you have to go through an inspection process by the judge and if he deems your animal unworthy, you have to load them up on a truck and off they go to the feed lot or the auction house. As quickly as that, an animal you have invested so much time and money in is whisked away never to be seen again. And you don't even get to participate in the show. I just hope these kids don't form to much of an attachment to the animals because that could be a hard break up.
After photographing two days of pigs, my least favorite animal, I moved across the lot to my favorite animals, the cattle. I don't know what it is, but the cattle look like giant lumbering Labradors, all cuddly and cute and well behaved. They don't smell (as bad), you don't have to worry about them running wild through the barn and they're easy to handle (for the most part) in the show arena. And the students that show cattle seem to be a lot less stressed than those that show pigs, they don't have that, "Somebody, stop that runaway pig!" look on their face.
I have been on the Monday - Friday shift for about a week now and I'll probably stick to photographing the stock shows this week and our other photographer, Kim, will shoot the rodeo performances. However, for the second week of the stock show and rodeo my schedule may get a little more hectic because of high school playoff basketball. And I'm sure I'll pick up a rodeo performance or two. But for now I'm happy to wander through the Livestock Barn at the fairgrounds among the pigs (not) and cattle. Perhaps I'll make my way through the goat and sheep shows soon.