Dissecting the noble traits of being a winner | CraigDailyPress.com

Dissecting the noble traits of being a winner

Diane Prather

While working on a story about local exhibitors who attended the 2010 National Western Stock Show — to be featured in an upcoming issue of the Craig Daily Press — this author has been pondering the word "winner."

Just who is a "winner," anyway?

For example, a person who receives a prize in a lottery or raffle drawing is considered a winner.

In this case, a person needs only to purchase a ticket and then rely on luck to win the prize. There's no work involved. But, that's not the case for most events in which award winners are chosen.

A person who receives a gold medal at the Winter Olympic Games has had to train hard for a long time to receive the award. That goes for a competitor who wins first place in an archery contest, too, or for a budding scientist who wins a medal at the science fair, following months of investigation into a scientific problem.

On the agricultural front, hard work also goes into being a participant in a livestock competition such as the National Western Stock Show.

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Just selecting a prospective animal for the show takes work. Then there's the daily feeding and care routine that goes on for months before show time rolls around.

Training of the animal, which usually begins right after it's selected, goes on daily, too.

And, there's so much more.

Participants in some of the special programs, such as the Catch-It-Calf Contest, are required to write monthly letters to their sponsors, keep records, give speeches and take part in interview sessions. Hard work, indeed.

So, it usually takes a lot of hard work to receive an award, but that doesn't guarantee that a participant in a livestock competition will receive a ribbon.

After all, there can be only one first place for each class. Considering that there may be hundreds of entries, placing at all is a real accomplishment. So does that mean that after all the hard work, an exhibitor isn't a winner if he or she does not place in competition?

Consider the following, where livestock competitions are concerned (although they apply to other competitions, as well).

A winner is …

• Someone who understands that not everyone can be in first place.

• Someone who has learned enough during all of the hard work to start a ranching operation on his/her own.

• Someone who has learned to communicate with others so that he can promote his/her own livestock operation.

• Someone who helps others.

• Someone with a positive attitude.

• Someone who can say, "I did my best. I learned a lot."

• Someone who turns mistakes into opportunities to learn (instead of blaming others for his/her own mistakes).

• Someone who keeps right on trying.

• Someone who overcomes adversity or helps an animal overcome adversity in order to compete in a livestock competition.

• Someone who shows compassion for others, and animals, too.

• Someone who enters a competition without cheating.

• Someone who says, "I'll do better next year."

• Someone who understands that he/she does not have to spend a lot of money to have a quality market or breeding animal.

• Someone who takes pride in his/her efforts and accomplishments.

• Someone who realizes that we all have good days and bad days.

• Someone who takes responsibility for his/her own actions and doesn't play the "blame game."

• Someone who learns to set realistic goals and understands the meaning of "success."

• Someone who did not place in competition, yet who can be happy for others who did.

Becoming a winner is a process, but in the end it's more than receiving a medal, trophy, or championship rosette.

How do you see a "winner?"

Copyright Diane Prather, 2010.

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