At the show in Reno, we were penned by the door. That means we get the most random, non-sheep people traffic. The woman who works in the Casino. The husband and wife who had never seen sheep in real life. The scantily clad woman with an open bottle of Crown in one hand and her cell phone camera in the other asking for a picture with our ewe, Big Bertha.
I know at shows, it’s easy to roll your eyes at people who want to pet the animals or ask questions that we think are stupid. We can feel way too busy for that business.
But if you ask me, this is our best chance to tell our story. Because we can share all the memes and articles and #agtwitter we want, but I will bet you it’s never as effective as a one-on-one conversation. This is our chance to connect with a consumer and give them a farmer or rancher they know.
Also, just because someone doesn’t understand our way of life, that doesn’t make them dumb, they just don’t know. I don’t understand the subway system in New York—that doesn’t make me dumb, I just don’t know information that someone living they lifestyle would.
So I’ll always be up for answering questions about why they have muzzles and explaining that a sheep show is like a cross between a dog show and a body building contest, and snapping pictures of people with our sheep—liquor bottles and all.
Because when they see something about farmers and ranchers on tv, I hope they will think of me. I hope they will remember how we took good care of our animals. I hope they remember I was patient to answer their questions. And if I am ever too busy for that to matter, maybe I better be re-thinking what I’m doing there in the first place.