Someone once said, “We are each gifted in a unique and important way. It is our privilege and our adventure to discover our own special light.”

I was once a shy, young girl, one many thought would never succeed at showing cattle. Of course this only influenced me to prove them wrong. Over the last 10 years, I have shown large numbers of cattle, but there is one that holds a special place in my heart.

In January 2015, I met Corona for the first time. Immediately, I knew there was something special about her. Since then, my family and I have traveled to nearly 20 cattle shows, in several states across countless miles to introduce her to the cattle industry. Corona ended the year with many ribbons, buckles and banners, but I collected much more than that – memories and experiences that will always be with me.

To some, cattle are just animals, but to many, they are our passion and way of life. Every day we feed each show animal before we feed ourselves, and they get a bath on a daily basis. Corona helped me understand that it takes confidence and determination to achieve your dreams. I am not the same shy, young girl I once was. The feeling of stepping out into the show ring with her is indescribable, but such an honor.

Together, she and I achieved National High Point Santa Gertrudis Female, the most prestigious female award for the breed. Her story, however, isn’t over, but just beginning. She welcomed a beautiful bull calf, Crown Royal, into the world in June to continue her legacy.

At the 2015 National Junior Santa Gertrudis Heifer Show, because of Corona’s accomplishments, I won three donated females, which came from breeders across the country. This year, at the end of June, I traveled to Tampa, Fla. to exhibit these three females. As I walked into the junior show ring for the last time, I couldn’t help but think that once again Corona had blessed me. Because of her, I added three more females to my herd.

Everyone has a purpose in this life and everyone is born with a gift. Some automatically know what that gift is and others have to search for it. Eventually, though, it comes to you. As I have discovered in the last several years, my gift is showing cattle. I was able to find something I am passionate about and fully invest my effort into becoming the best I could possibly be with the help of a heifer named Corona.

Across Missouri, individuals are exhibiting livestock at local county fairs. This is a chance for them to display the hard work and dedication they have invested throughout the summer. Next month, some of them will travel to the Missouri State Fair, August 11-21, to exhibit their livestock at the state level.  Whether they are attending their local county fair or the state fair, each should be proud of their accomplishments and lessons learned along the way.