Now I know my livestock

As with past years, this year I helped take pictures of each animal, seller and buyer at the 4-H livestock sale at the Power County Fair. This year, however, was a little bit different. Instead of having us take pictures outside the selling area, they moved us over to a place nearby, where we took pictures as the animals headed out the door.

This meant that we were taking pictures with no fence between us and the animals like we normally did. Now, I’m about to reveal my city boy roots here. This experience meant I was in contact with more livestock than I’ve ever been in contact with in my entire life. Most of my experience with livestock is on the other end of the process. In other words, I’ve ate a lot of livestock.

I was raised in the Salt Lake City/Ogden area in Utah. When we moved to Pocatello when I was sixteen, I was surprised by how small it was. I mean, you could drive in any direction, and be in the country within a few minutes. Even now, if you drive south from Ogden, you won’t be in the country for another hour, when you suddenly arrive in Spanish Fork.

I knew that potatoes were raised in Idaho, but I didn’t know which part of Idaho until I was older. I still didn’t know, even after we moved to Pocatello. Yes, I didn’t know that most of the potatoes in Idaho were being raised in the part of Idaho that I was in. That’s how far removed I was from where my food came from.

Let’s just say that now I know.

Now, after living in American Falls for eight years, Pocatello is the big city, and when we visit we complain about the traffic and the bustle that’s constantly going on. How does Costo’s parking lot remain that full? Is everyone within a thirty mile radius suddenly desiring a huge package of egg rolls? Everywhere you go, there are cars.

But I digress. Fortunately for me, I’ve been around livestock enough in this job that I wasn’t too scared of hanging out with them. Had it been eight years ago, when it was my first time taking the pictures, it might have been a different story. It was a good thing we had a fence back then.

Back then I had no idea that 4-H kids raised animals and sold them in an auction. I did know what 4-H was though; my sisters were in 4-H, and their baking escapades were pretty important to me as guinea pig number one. My carb intake increased dramatically while they were in 4-H, which is something I didn’t mind a bit.

But I know now what the 4-H kids are up to. I know very well as we wrastled pigs into place for a picture. That can be a hard thing to do. People sometimes grease pigs and try to hold on to them for fun. That night, I was doing it for work.

But we got them all pictured, with the exception of one or two that just wouldn’t behave. Thank goodness I had plenty of help. I’d especially like to thank Power County’s rodeo queen, Shelby Wiggs, who helped pose the animals, and obviously has been around a whole lot more livestock than I have ever been around.


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