By Julie Tomascik @julietomascik
The Olympics: where the best of the best compete for a shiny gold medal. What would the Ag Olympics look like?
Well, I have a few ideas…
Bulls, cows and calves give it their all in the Brisket Stroke. Each one tries to be like the legendary Michael Phelps, or in this case, Moocheal Phelps.
Instead of shooting sports, we have chute-ing activities. Ranchers use a chute to help control movement and maintain cattle safety during important health and identification processes.
A combination of skills used in familiar Olympic sports are on full display in the annual agriculture event on sheep farms all across the country. It takes the laser focus of a gymnast while shearing, the endurance of the most fit athletes for the all-day event and the ground skills of the best in judo to safely handle lambs.
Synchronized Equipment Driving
Not too fast. Not too slow. And don’t spill anything! Combines and grain carts driving through the field are a special kind of synchronization. It takes a little practice to get good at this.
One bale, two bales, three bales…400 bales. Throwing and stacking bales takes endurance and precision. The heat and the pressure for a perfect stack adds up with each additional layer. And the event isn’t over until the barn is full!
A hammer, staples, posts and wire: It’s fencing but on a whole other level. Years of practice have honed the art of fencing on farms and ranches. Used to help manage livestock and the pastures, a good fence will last for years if the farmer, rancher or fence builder does it right.
Mucking stalls, cleaning pens, organizing the barn and sweeping the shop floor could all be considered an Olympic sport, especially if it’s a timed event!
Run, rancher, run! When a gate is accidentally left open and the cows are about to get out, you’ll see a rancher transform into an Olympic track star. They can reach that gate in 4 seconds flat.
Heart of an Olympian
But when it comes down to it, farmers and ranchers have the characteristics of an Olympian—hard work, dedication, years of experience, knowledge and a specialized set of skills.
Their calloused hands and tired eyes complement the grease stains on their pants and dust on their boots. It’s the uniform of farmers and ranchers who are passionate about growing our food, fiber and fuel.
Farming and ranching are the roots that hold a family legacy, bring together communities and fuel the world economy. Agriculture is a part of each of us.
Julie Tomascik is associate director-editor at Texas Farm Bureau. This column was originally published on Texas Table Top and is re-published with permission.