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Some boys sit on the benches and are thrilled by the sights of the show ring; they are the spectators; some boys enter the arena below in view of the spectators above, and enjoy all the thrills of the show ring; they are the participants. Find out what "Thrills of the Show Ring” is about and discuss the main points with your classmates.
The first meeting of the Hillington Calf Club, since the eventful trip to the state fair, was to be held with Harry Andrews. The meeting was arranged in honor of Eureka Maid, Harry's champion calf, which carried off the blue ribbon in the largest dairy-calf show ever held in America.
In expectation of company, Harry had given Eureka Maid more than usual attention. Her dainty suit of white ermine, with gorgeous black trimming, was cleaned and brushed until it glistened;
her horns and hoofs were carefully polished; and the fluff of her tail was brushed until it resembled the silken hair of a child.
Harry, too, was groomed for the event. He was wearing his club pin, and anxiously awaiting the arrival of his friends. As he stepped out of the kitchen door, Ted Wilson, the president of the club, could be seen approaching in the dim twilight.
“Hello! Ted, I've hardly calmed down yet,” exclaimed Harry, as he grabbed his fellow club member by the hand. “Some show! wasn't it? But when the judge started that big calf up the line, motioning to its owner to take her clear to the top, my heart fell. I thought I was beaten. I could have cried, almost, if it hadn't been that the chap next below me was already sniffling, and he was larger and older than I.”
"Pshaw, I knew you had won, Harry, hands down,' returned Ted as he seated himself on the well curb. “Just think of her top line, and that beautiful dairy head. Why, Harry, your calf was in perfect condition, her coat was like velvet. You had nothing to worry about.”
"Perhaps; but, you know, it was the first time I was ever in the show ring, with a calf of my own, and I didn't realize that so much depended upon me. · How I tugged at Eureka Maid to get her to square up before the judge got there! And that chap next to me had his calf trained to prick up her ears and stand like a picture whenever he snapped his fingers.”
“O, I learned a lot of the tricks of the show ring
down there, Harry. You remember the fellow who finally got second place. When I went over to congratulate him, we got quite confidential. He told me he washed his calf in warm water with just enough bluing in it to make her white spots whiter and the black marks blacker. He was a fine fellow, and I was glad he got close to the top. I like to see a square fellow win.”
"I must say that I felt kind of sorry for that fellow standing at the top so long. Did you see the confident expression he carried? You know they finally left him in third place. He surely had a beautiful animal."
"He did have a beautiful animal,” returned Ted. "I am here to say I had a beautiful animal myself, but the judge dropped me down to tenth place. They were all beauties. Out of that class of thirty-nine Holstein heifers, there was not an individual but would do credit to any show ring. I am not ashamed that I got tenth place. I was satisfied with that after I saw the competition we had; and, especially, with one of my club members standing at the top of the row.”
“Now, Ted, old man, you make me feel ashamed of myself,” said Harry. “That's heaping coals of fire
on my head.”
"No such thing, Harry.”
“Yes it is, for I can't forget the valuable pointers you gave me just before entering the ring; and I have not forgotten how you came over here to help me trim her up, clipping her hair, and polishing her horns, two weeks before the fair, so that she would look her very best. Ted, you just kept at me all summer—now you can't deny that—urging me on and telling me what to do to make my calf show off a little better. On the other hand, I can't think of a thing I did for you.” The tears began to gather as Harry, with disturbed conscience, faced his fellow club mate and said, “Ted, you won first place, I didn't-you and Eureka Maid.” "
"Not a bit of it, Harry, the little I did was only what any club brother would have done. Why, I've got all the credit and enjoyment due me from just seeing you top the list in that big class; and better than that, our club got first as a club group! Isn't that great? We can't all be first in a class, but when the club wins, we all share the glory.
"That prize includes 'every fellow we left at home, too-even Lee Williams, who knew he was beaten last spring before our club fairly got under way. That chap has been more of an inspiration to me than any other fellow in the club, simply because he stayed in the game and finished the job, when he knew he could not afford to go to the state fair or to pay as much to get a good calf in the beginning. You know, he has never missed a club meeting all summer, and that's uphill fighting at his house.
"Harry, I think the most pathetic sight I ever saw in my life was over here at our local show when our club leader was trying to decide which calves should be taken to the state fair. I've never told a soul about this, but you remember after our calves were placed, you stayed outside to have your picture taken with Eureka Maid. Well, most of the other boys were exercising their calves and waiting around to see you get 'shot'; but I noticed Lee Williams take his little Jersey calf straight back to the barns. I knew he was feeling rather blue; so, quickly as I could, I followed him hoping to get a chance, before the other fellows came, to cheer him up a bit.
“When I reached the calf stalls, this is what I saw. After tying his calf up, Lee crumpled in a heap on the bedding right beside her. I could see by the movement of his shoulders that the strain had been too much and, though beaten in the most honorable way a fellow ever met defeat-through lack of funds it nevertheless had cut deep into his heart. Brown Bessie, however, comrade you know the whole summer long, stood soothingly licking his coat. I don't know, Harry, that I ever felt more like crying in my life. How I wished I hadn't come in so soon, but it was too late then. The noise of our coming had reached Lee's ears, and quick as a flash, he was on his feet, but bending over and pretending to be tying the rope.
'Fine show, wasn't it,' came from his cheery voice, ‘Glad Harry won, because he has a fine calf, and you
know he has worked pretty hard; and, of course, would have felt pretty bad if he hadn't won first. You fellows should take some of the club