Official publication of the Texas Junior Livestock Association

An Experiment With Great Promise

By Cherie C. Bright

There was a lot of good in the new format we used in May, but there was also a lot of things that need to be changed.

Someone once said: “Working hard on something you don’t care about is called stress. Working hard on something you love is called passion.” 

The latter description sums up the TJLA staffs’ commitment to this new idea of one ring, three Judges, four sets of points. I have been writing about it in the magazine for three months, but we first tried this new program at the Sullivan Supply South Camp Show.

Did it work? 

Yes, in many ways. 

Are there problems with the program? 

Whatever the problems are, we are having regular practice sessions with his program between now and June 28. 

Can those problems be fixed? 

The man who created the program says they can easily be fixed. But I’m going to have to rely on his judgment, because I don’t know one thing about computer programming. 

The program which is hooked to a large flatscreen television works beautifully in the classes.

We had a few bumps in the beginning of the show when a couple of exhibitors were either in the wrong class or they were missing from the class sheets.

Within 15 minutes the programmer had found a fix for that.

The biggest problem we had with this program was a lack of communication between our staff and the computer programmer.

He isn’t a livestock person, so he got the classes down pat. Because we are so familiar with the show and how it runs, we didn’t completely explain the process. Maybe we explained it in a manner that we thought he understood, but there was definitely a breakdown in communication.

I just re-read an email that Ryan sent to him about the breed and reserve breed champions. That is neither here nor there, the fact of the matter is that the program would not display the first and second place animals competing for breed and reserve breed champion, and there are a lot of common excel programs that can do that.

That flaw in the program brought two complications that caused delays: First of all, there were no cards for the judges with the class champions and reserve class champions’ exhibitor numbers on them for the judges to use to mark his list by preference in the breed champion drive.

Since the system is based entirely upon numbers and the judges are asked to refrain from talking with each other until after they have handed in their class cards, we had a problem. Someone had to write down the class numbers and exhibitor numbers for every exhibitor involved in the selection of the breed champion.

After the selection of the breed champion, those cards had to be manually adjusted to include the exhibitor that was second-place to the champion of the breed.

Chuck Barton caught me at the end of the show. He said, “From out here it looked like you all were spending a lot of time doing nothing.”

I told him to believe me, that was not the case.

When we use this program in July at the Sullivan Supply South Belt Buckle Bonanza we will have that problem fixed.

There will be a printer on the announcer stand so that those judges cards can be printed out immediately after the last class in the breed. That way they can be handed to the judges immediately.

By July the computer program will also be able to produce a score card for the division drives and the grand champion drives.

That will eliminate a vast amount of time that we wasted this past weekend.

I cannot fully express our appreciation for Lee Pritchard, Mari Palacio, and Luke Doris, our judges on the heifer side and Wade Shackelford, Mitch Thomas, and Stewart Scoggin who all judged the steer show. They knew that this was an experiment going in and they graciously put up with our mistakes and our delays.

Likewise, Kelly Cunningham, Catherine Schackelford, Brant Poe, Lauren Poe, and our junior directors worked diligently getting the classes ready to come into the gate and working the ring.

I want to give a particular thank you to Camie Cunningham, Megan Maglievez, and Stiles Patton who all spent hours working the steer ring.

James Bright told someone at the end of the show that I had married him for free labor at the TJ LA shows. I am sure he felt like that since he was on his feet all day.

Shelley Marek and Ruben Garcia both worked from the beginning of the heifer show until the very end.

Reed Thorn, TJLA Sweetheart Kamdan Crisp, Queen Tori Hogg, and several junior volunteers covered the heifer arena along with other junior directors.

Scott Smith capably handled the swine superintendent!s role along with being the Executive Chef for the Crawfish Boil. He and his wife, Anissa, always do a great job.

The South Texas Series crew made up of Tracy Beadle, Cindy Pelagio, Marcia and Kelsey Bordovsky voluntarily stepped in to run the lamb and goat show, and did it extremely well. Tracy let me know that Chance Rushing and his family were amazing help. They also were very impressed with Tanner Martin and Rachel White and all the help that they gave them during the lamb and goat show.

I have no words to express my appreciation for the staff: Bill, Scooter, Diann and Rick Blackwell, Ryan and Lance Gilbert spent hours preparing for the show, and hours working during the show. They are the best troupers I know.

We certainly didn’t invent the wheel. Denver has been using a three-man judging system for several years. There system is slightly different from ours.

In our new system we designate one of the three judges as the lead judge for the American Breeds; one as the lead judge for the British breeds, and the third is designated as the lead judge for the Continental Breeds. If there is a tie in a class or indecision a better breed champion or reserve breed champion, the way The lead judge in that division scored his card breaks the tie.

We have been working on this program for about six months. I have always been into instant gratification. I have a difficult time with delayed gratification. Anyone who knows me well recognizes that.

It has been tedious for me to wait on the developments in the program.

When we tried it out at the office we had three people turn in scores for dummy class sheets.

That worked like Patton going through Germany toward the end of World War II!

I was thrilled. And no one can know the extent of my being thrilled unless they’ve worked with me.

So when we got to the end of that first heifer breed and we could not post the judges scores for the breed on the monitor, my mood fell like an April rain in East Texas. And I want you to know that we have some gully washers.

But after watching the program work and knowing exactly what the problems were and that they could be fixed, I regained my momentum.

That is why I can identify with the emotion “passion.” As that wise man I quoted at the first of the article once said: “Working on something you don’t care about is called stress. Working on something you love is called “passion!” 

I hope to see you for a new and improved round two at the Sullivan Supply South Belt Buckle Bonanza!