When I was 14 years old I got lucky and somehow ended up as the alternate on the Missouri 4-H Horse Bowl Team (like a quiz bowl for everything horse). We ended up winning state and got to go to Nationals in Colorado. Most exciting thing in my life at the time, but come to find out, that part didn’t really matter that much.
One of the girls on that team and I became close friends almost immediately, and their family all but adopted me over the next year or two. We shared barn dances, Horsebowl trips all over to compete, and the Heart of Missouri Brangus Cattle program (she went on to raise Brangus the rest of her life) and the subsequent cattle shows, plus we got to experience the American Royal Horse Show together.