Sorting a livestock class is easy.
Just put the good ones up, the bad ones down. Then, be ready to back it up; talk tough.
But sorting kids? The most experienced evaluators know that's impossible.
"You know, I used to think I could pick out a kid who was going to excel, but I can't say that's true," Sweet Grass County extension agent Marc King said. He leaned back in his office chair at the Big Timber, Montana, extension office, pointing to the seat across from his desk.
"I've had kids sit right there in that seat and cry, cry, cry… heck, run out of the room, they're so nervous and scared to give their first set of reasons," he shook his head, flashing through the years of adolescent growth he's seen in two decades of coaching.
Originally published March 13, 2015 in Tri-State Livestock News.
PS — I've thought about this story often since it published, especially when I get to watch Marc and the rest of our local Extension Office team in action at the Sweet Grass County Fair. Their dedication to the young people of our community brings me to tears at least once a year.