There is no doubt that Mitchell Miner loves his Holstein-Friesian Audri who he is pictured curled up with at the Iowa State Fair. While the 15-year-old may not realize it now, the many month process of raising the cow to show at the very competitive Iowa State Fair has taught him many things.The pair had to start out competing at a county fair where it is very likely they stayed for about a week before earning the honor to advance to the Iowa State Fair. If Mitchell is like many kids involved in raising cattle, he has traveled down many back roads with his parents hunting the right cow to raise. If he is like many kids involved in the 4-H program, raising dairy cows is just part of the experience as he travels across the state and beyond to livestock judging competitions, public speaking events, and many other organized activities.
While Mitchell did not win today, he won in a much bigger way. Spending hours in a show barn is a wonderful way to meet people from many different walks of life. The chance to network at a young age with people who are passionate about what they do and the youth of tomorrow will likely play a huge part in his life as he prepares to move off to college and beyond.
While it is likely that Mitchell felt a little sadness at losing, the chance to learn to do it gracefully at a young age is invaluable. He understands how to pick up the pieces, learn from the experience and move on to do better next year. This process is undoubtedly one that he will repeat many times throughout his life.
While Mitchell did not win in the show arena, he has won in more important ways. He is a member of a family who obviously loves him. Chances are that he is a member of a small close-knit community who understands that neighbors help each other overcome the worst adversities. He will understand that even if he moves to a big city that he is responsible for helping his fellow man.
Mitchell has learned to make his own old-fashion fun. He has probably laughed as he threw a plastic spider attached to a fishing line over the rafters in the Iowa State Fair dairy barn dropping it down on some unsuspecting city slicker. He has no doubt eaten his weight in pork tenderloin sandwiches and cotton candy. He has laughed as he accompanied his brother and sister to the midway. Hours spent at the fair are days of fun win or lose.
This young man is a winner in life as he is learning so many new things. While he may not realize it now, he is so much better off being raised in a loving family surrounded by caring farmers in a small town.