A Historical Perspective

By: Katie Hoge

October 2020

Without a doubt, 2020 will be a year to remember. This pandemic will have a lasting impact of epic proportions. It will be etched in our minds forever — but we may not remember it as negatively as most people. Our industry will be able to look back and recall how they witnessed, first-hand, how to handle adversity. We saw true leadership from those people who are passionate about the livestock industry, who took this time and turned it into a great lesson on resilience, grit and tenacity. Our industry made history.

As breaking news made its way across the country that a junior livestock show had been cancelled, instantly, it seemed, two new shows were born. These shows were organized in record time and at great magnitudes in a safe and positive way. The leaders who surfaced, demonstrated great determination, perseverance and drive and took no shortcuts. All the bells and whistles were applied, and the red carpet was rolled out. When everything was falling down around us, people right beside us were creating new concepts, new shows and new memories.

Selfless drivers make our industry what it is, and while you might not notice them most years, this year, they surfaced. These people are the quiet leaders who are positive and supportive of all of those around them — but in 2020, with COVID-19, they were the very same people who stepped forward when our industry was in disarray and our future was in question, and they put on events greater than we ever could have imagined. And while doing all of this, they never asked for a “thank-you” or for financial compensation. They simply did what they firmly believed in their hearts needed to be done, and that’s what makes them the greatest leaders — ones that our industry may have forever overlooked were it not for COVID-19. These leaders made history.

For years to come, historians will write of the COVID-19 tragedy of 2020, and they will focus on the doom and gloom of this year. The sad reality is that what happened in the junior livestock show industry in 2020 could be the most impactful history lesson one could learn. What we will remember is the resiliency of the livestock industry — how people stepped up and were a positive and powerful influence during one of the darkest hours in our country’s history. How will you choose to remember 2020? I’m choosing to see the light!