By Mike IsbellUniversity of Georgia”I really messed up,” said 13-year-old Levi George, a HeardCounty 4-H Club member, at the conclusion of the cattle show.Levi had two registered Angus heifers. They were both in the sameclass at the show, which meant Levi had two show calves competingagainst each other. But he couldn’t show both calves at the sametime in the show ring.So he talked his 10-year-old brother Luke into showing the secondheifer for him.The heifer Luke showed won first place in the class and $30. Lukeshowed it again in the division final and won “Grand ChampionAngus” and $50. Finally, Luke and the heifer went on to win”Supreme Champion,” making it the top heifer at the show andwinning another $150.’I really messed up'”Man, I really messed up,” Levi repeated to himself.”Well, what’s the matter?” I asked him. “Your heifer won thewhole show. So what did you mess up about?”Levi shook his head in dismay and replied, “I promised Luke ifhe’d show my calf for me, he could have all the prize money thecalf won!”$230 in prize money may sound like a lot to a 13-year-old, butthe value is not in the prize money. It’s in what the juniorlivestock project teaches.Bill Hodge, the University of Georgia Extension agent in CarrollCounty, said most youth livestock projects aren’t economicallysound. But then, raising kids isn’t economically sound, either.Livestock lessonsLivestock projects teach kids to get along with each other andrespect each other. You should see how they all pitch in and helpeach other out — even if it means helping the competition.They know that getting beat is just a part of growing up. Andtheir time to win will come. Even if it’s not in the show ring.Livestock projects teach responsibility. They teach kids tofaithfully provide for the animals in their care. Training theiranimals for the show teaches them the value of consistency andpersistence.And the fact that the kids have to look after another livingcreature teaches them that we, as humans, are responsible forthis world we live in. They learn to be good stewards of theearth.They learn the kinds of things that will help keep this a niceplace to live for their kids.