“Attention in the barns. Due to the rain, this is a no-fit show. I repeat, today is a no-fit show.”
These words, spoken by our 7-year-old Nolan, are drifting up from our basement playroom this morning as I write.
This year’s rain has definitely left its mark on the shows we’ve attended in the past month. Every show has been visited with rain -- torrential downpours, more accurately.
The show organizers have been incredible at assisting exhibitors and helping the events flow as smoothly as possible. Many thanks, volunteers!
And a rainy jackpot or preview show sure adds a new twist to the show-parent preparations. Here are the top nine lessons I’ve learned from showing in the rain.
1. This was a terrible year to decide to take wash-rack duty at the shows, thereby leaving the blowing at the nice, dry stalls to the kids and the husband. I couldn’t tell whether I was getting drenched from the wash rack or from the atmosphere. And really, it didn’t really matter. I ... was ... soaked.
2. It doesn’t take long to discover which "waterproof jackets" absolutely don’t live up to their claims of being waterproof. It also doesn’t take long to purchase new highly rated jackets through Amazon for the next trip.
3. At most shows, you calculate your fitting start time on the number of cattle to enter the ring that day, before your animal’s class – or some variation of that formula. During severe weather, breaks in downpours and lighting strikes also must be considered.
4. There’s no relief like the relief of the “no-fit show” announcement when the rain is pouring so hard you can’t even see the show ring from your stalls. Especially when that distance is less than a football field in length.
5. There is also no panic like the panic you feel when you nearly get the truck stuck in the mud near tie outs. And the idea of breaking the news to your husband? Terrifying. Or so I’ve been told, anyway… ahem… moving on …
6. It’s somewhat liberating to know, as a show mom, the pressure is completely removed on looking "cute" at the show. Throw on a cap, and you’re good to go. And makeup? No need. Any amount you apply will soon run down your face and fall in drops onto the ground. Tammy Faye Baker: step aside.
7. However, I am not yet the mother of a teenage daughter, for whom appearances are of great importance. And I understand the pressure and resulting stress to look cute under those, or any, conditions is still most definitely there. So my condolences, teenage-girl moms.
8. Boys, on the other hand, will find great joy in seeking out the largest puddles to "accidentally" step into. And – hallelujah -- Shout, OxyClean and a dose of good luck truly can get the worst mud stains out of those brand-new show jeans.
9. Some of the greatest family memories can come during those drives home from the show, when everyone in the truck alternately soaked and sweaty and exhausted.
When your 10-year-old son asks, "Dad, can we find more shows to attend this year? I want to do this more often!"
You can smile and think, "Yes, it’s really worth it after all."