Livestock Ambassador Clay Cole is our spotlight. In his own words: For as long as I can remember, showing has been a huge part of my everyday life. The very idea of taking a baby animal, spending day in and day out training, conditioning, and preparing it to compete at a major stock show against tons of other animals has always intrigued me. My family and I have been very lucky to have been as successful as we have up until this point. When I started showing eight years ago, our goal was to try to improve each year. Some years we met that mark, and on a few others, we fell short, but we couldn’t have asked for the 2014-2015 show season to go any better. My family placed and sold a steer at the four major shows, including the Reserve Champion Exotic Steer at the San Angelo Stock Show and the Champion Angus Steer at the San Antonio Livestock Expo. Getting better from here is going to be tough, but it’s a challenge we are blessed to have.
Showing has taught me more lessons that I can count. Besides the obvious lessons of responsibility and hard work, I’ve also learned how to analyze feed programs, manage money, win and lose with grace, accept the cycle of life, and to just persevere when things don’t go your way. I’ve learned that just like life, no matter how much we prepare, we can’t control every aspect of showing an animal. Things like classifying, weighing out, crying holes, animals getting sick or dying, and things generally not turning out as you planned could easily crush your hope. Thankfully, I have a strong support system that is made up of my family and show friends I have made along the way that helps to put disappointments and accomplishments alike into perspective.
The Ambassador program has given me the opportunity to add many new friends and advisors to my support system and also introduced me to a new world of agriculture advocating. I have discovered that my passion for Ag isn’t just about my steers in the show ring, but that I also enjoy teaching others about how important our industry is to the world. Being involved in both, showing and the ambassador program, has shaped who I am today and helped me to realize that I want to pursue a career in an agricultural field. I would recommend these programs to anyone.