|The Overnight bag|
Every summer, Dad and an assortment of his children would head out on the 'Cattle Show' circuit.
We hit every major fairground in Alberta.
It was . . . fun.
|On the Road|
We would truck the chosen animals to the fairgrounds.
Secure our spot in the barns.
Prepare the site. (Fluffing up straw figured largely here.)
Lead in the animals and tie them.
Then set up our tack box and assorted matching equipment and chairs, tables, etc.
Trying to make the entire area as tidy and un-barn-like as possible.
We were ready.
For the next two days, we hauled feed in little rubber tubs.
Buckets of water.
And hauled out anything remotely smelly or dirty.
We would wash and brush and blow dry and trim.
Periodically, we would untie one of the animals, lead him or her into a ring and parade around.
Then stand them up and keep them in one place while the judge walked around them.
Poking and prodding.
Before he moved on to the next animal.
Then we paraded around again while he watched.
And we watched him.
Everyone praying that our animal would be the one he slapped.
In a cattle show, slapping is good.
It allowed us to participate in the Parade of Champions.
This was our summer.
Cattle show to cattle show.
Feeding, cleaning and trading news with the exhibitors all around us.
Taking occasional side trips to the fairway for foot-long hot dogs and corn-on-the-cob.
With the kids who were also exhibiting with their dads.
Life was perfect.