After observing the livestock show hoping to better understand what was expected of him when he and Bella eventually entered the ring, Keigan returned to his cow’s side.
Perhaps by this time in the day’s activities—most notably after he gained perspective and instruction from the ongoing competition—Keigan’s palpable fear, uncertainty and doubt began to change, to metamorphose into something usable, something akin to determination and intent.
Because she continued drawing upon his emotions to help define her own, Bella’s substantial stress and worry remained tangible, material. Keigan knew this as well as we did. He therefore tried his best to reassure her, to calm her, but also to reiterate that she must follow his bidding if they were to have any hope of placing.
The enemy of purpose is vacant time. Always rushing only to wait, the boy and his cow found themselves suspended in that insufferable moment when they had nothing further to do save wait for the call for his class to show. It would be unwise to leave Bella, he knew, because they would have to move swiftly when the speakers announced their time had come. So they waited. And worried. And wondered.
Then it happened. Through the cacophony of bellowing cows and bleating sheep and laughter and voices and overhead announcements, word came for Keigan’s class to prepare for competition.
With show stick in hand, he led her toward the ring, through throngs of animals and people. He led her toward competition, their first together. He led her.
Yet once again the enemy of purpose reared its ugly head. Prepared and assembled, competitors had to wait. Again.
But Keigan’s ag teacher Bruce knew they would have no better opportunity for last-minute checks, last-minute tips, last-minute guidance. So he defeated the enemy of purpose by filling vacant time, wresting control from fear, uncertainty and doubt.
The moment didn’t last long, though, for the time had finally come. Speakers throughout the arena declared competitors in their class should make their way to the ring’s gate, for they finally had to face the judge for the first time.
Competition comes in waves. Competitors and their animals must first contend at the class level. Worthy participants advance to the best-of-class competition. And winners in best of class advance to best of show.
However, first they must make it through their class, be chosen to move on, impress the judge with knowledge, skills and genetics such that they place and move forward. Keigan had great hope for placing in his class, deep desire tempered with realism that he might take best in class, and willingness to face the daunting challenge of competing for best in show.
To know if any of these prospects could be made manifest, he and Bella had to overcome the biggest hurdle.
They had to face the judge for the first time.
— — — — — — — — — —
- Keigan checking Bella prior to competition
- Keigan and Bella sharing a moment before they compete
- Keigan and Bella waiting to hear the get-ready call for their competition
- Keigan leading Bella toward the ring
- Keigan and Bella waiting yet again before entering the ring
- Bruce, Keigan’s ag teacher, giving Bella a quick look and giving Keigan last-minute guidance
- The judge for the cattle portion of the livestock show