Step 1: Setting Goals | Tips from Stock Show University®

Whether you have exhibited livestock for years or you are just a beginner, working towards some type of goal in the show barn is an excellent idea to stay motivated and achieve greatness. For a beginner, you might have the goal of winning showmanship at your local county fair. Once you have been in the project for more years, you might add the goal of exhibiting at a Junior National Heifer Show or making the Sale of Champions. After this or when your time expires in the show ring as a junior, you might have the goal of starting your own herd and raising livestock for junior exhibitors. 

When setting this “goal” you have at home, remember this special piece of advice. You might have heard the old saying, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.” Your goals and aspirations will not happen overnight, but with constant hard work and dedication, goals can become reality. Now, if your goal is to win first place, well, that may not be totally in your control, at the end of the day. The lessons and skills learned as you work toward your goal will be invaluable. During this Stock Show University® article, Stock Show University® Manager, Tess Mittag, sat down with a highly motivated showman, Payton Rodgers, as she explains how she got started in this industry and what keeps her motivated in her show barn! 

Tess: Tell Stock Show University® a little about yourself.

Payton: My name is Payton Rogers, and I am 16 years old from Savannah, MO, where we run our family business, Rodgers Livestock, with a focus on raising and selling show cattle. Our family is very active showing cattle, pigs, and sheep around the country. Following high school, I plan to attend a Junior College and judge on a Livestock Judging Team. After that, I plan to attend Oklahoma State University and get a degree in Agribusiness and Marketing. My goal after graduating from college is to find a career in this industry that I grew up heavily involved in. 

Tess: How old were you when you first started showing?

Payton: As long as I can remember, I have had a love and passion for this industry. I believe part of that came from growing up around our family business and seeing my parents help other kids with their livestock. I first started showing pigs when I was 5 years old. Furthermore, I then started showing cattle at jackpot shows when I was 8, but it wasn’t until I got into Junior High that I finally showed my first fat steers. 

Tess:What keeps you motivated day to day in the show barn?

Payton: “The only thing even in this world is the numbers of hours in a day. The difference between winning and loosing is what you do with those hours.” This quote has always been written on the whiteboard in the barn. In my mind, I have always thought that if I can give showing and working on livestock my all and work as hard as I can, no matter if I win or loose, at least I will know I did everything I could. A lot of my motivation comes from wanting that feeling of walking into the ring knowing I have done everything I could do. I have also been very fortunate to be surrounded by people who support and encourage me to keep pursuing and working towards my goals. I am very thankful for them and their constant reminder to never give up. However, one of the biggest ways I stay motivated is by using disappointment as motivation. Not everything is going to go the way I envision. So, instead of getting upset or giving up on a goal, I have to find the positive with what I’m doing, learn from coming up short, and use it as motivation to work harder to accomplish my goals.

Tess: What advice would you give to a young kid that was just getting started with their livestock project?

Payton: If you are a kid that is just starting showing, I first would like to tell you that there is no better industry to get involved in. Showing livestock comes with hard days but as I look back growing from those days has made me the person I am today. I would also tell you that the possibilities and opportunities that come from this industry are endless. If you are passionate about showing and put in the work, you can do anything you set your mind to. However, in order to do that, it is important to be willing to be open-minded about always learning new things and making new connections. Another thing I would tell them is that everyone always says time flies and to enjoy the present, and that is so true. That realization has started to set in as my last few years of showing approach. Enjoy each moment, even some hard days will become the best days of your life. 

Tess: Who are your role models in the industry, and why do you look up to them? 

Payton: I wouldn’t be where I am at today without the influence of countless people who have done so much for my family and I. However, the people I look up to the most would have to be my parents, Blaine and Melissa Rodgers. I look up to them in so many ways. They have sacrificed so much to allow my sister and I to grow up in this industry. They have always taught us that no matter what, dream big and work hard. Our family does this as a team, as my parents both put in so much time and effort helping my sister and I, and there is no way we could ever do it without them.

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