By: Dan Faber
Growing up in a strong rural community, agriculture became a huge aspect of my life. Exhibiting livestock quickly became one of my deepest passions. I traveled extensively with my family as we competed in local, state and national events.
However, one achievement separates itself from the others. In 2004, I was given the award of grand champion steer at the Iowa State Fair. I do not select this moment because of the trophy I won. I select this achievement because of the lessons it brought to light.
When I was eight years old, my family traveled to the Iowa State Fair to watch the various livestock shows. During this event, our family set a goal to win the steer show.
This quote best illustrates our family’s thoughts: “Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal — a commitment to excellence — that will enable you to attain the success you seek.” (Mario Andretti)
My family set a goal and worked tirelessly to achieve it. I learned that goals are essential to success in any aspect of your life.
On the road to this success, there were many more defeats than victories. We did not win the Iowa State Fair in our first effort. I learned to win with humility and to lose with grace.
Through our defeats, I learned to judge success beyond the trophies and ribbons. I found confidence in my own abilities and talents. Success is found in the fact you gave it everything you had. These lessons can be applied to everyday situations. You must find pride in the things you do.
Showing cattle taught me a very important lesson in life — that hard work can overcome many obstacles. Our family found a relationship between hard work and high placings. This mindset translated to other areas of my life including education, sports and jobs. With hard work, I can continue my educational success as I pursue my goal of a career in physical therapy.
Winning the Iowa State Fair was not an award I claimed just for myself — it was a family victory. My family pursued this as a team activity, and we all worked hard to achieve it.
The greatest victory throughout these activities, however, was the time spent with family and friends. My family is extremely important to me, and the memories we share are priceless. Showing cattle wasn’t about winning — it was about building relationships and making memories with families and friends.
The accomplishment of exhibiting the grand champion steer is one I am extremely proud of. I learned that setting goals is critical to success. And hard work and determination will get you further than previously thought possible.
I was taught to treat people with respect, no matter if you win or lose. I spent priceless time with my family and made unforgettable memories.
My accomplishments go beyond the trophies and ribbons —the most important accomplishments are found in the lessons learned and the memories made with family and friends.
Dan grew up in Sioux Center, Iowa, with an older sister, Sara, and younger brother, Tyler. While at Sioux Center Community High School he was very active in 4-H, FFA and sports. Dan is currently attending Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa, on a basketball scholarship while majoring in biology health professings and minoring in business administration. His current goal is to own a a physical therapy clinic.
Dan is the winner of our intercollegiate writing contest. Submit your best work by clicking here!