An Open Letter to My Fitter That I Should’ve Written Month Posted on October 28, 2015 by daysierra97

Author: Kristy

As many have seen on social media, the cattle industry lost a legend that so many got the chance to meet. The other cattle and I feel the heavy hearts that have lingered around the barns for a few weeks. I know Sierra has struggled to find just the words to say so on her behalf and my own I, Grace, want to thank Justin Lillesand for all he did to impact our lives.

Sometimes life feels like it only lasts as long as a show season, unfortunately. One day you’re shearing calves in the spring and the next your sending them out to pasture then road tripping to find next year’s show diva. One day you’re laughing at the chutes and the next you’re praying for one more day of summer just to see that contagious smile again. I know that we never thanked you enough, Justin, for the little things you did. If we could spend one more day inhaling tail adhesive I know Sierra and I would tell you this:

Thank you for always walking up clippers in hand ready to tackle the belly.

I know every time I would go into the chute there you would be clippers in hand, shirt untucked, and with that smile on your  face. Every time we walked up to the fitting area it was obvious that you loved being in the atmosphere and you made everyone love being there with you

Thank you for believing in us.

It seems pretty explanatory, but the way you cared for Sierra and I will never be forgotten. You looked at me as if I was a heifer that you had just been waiting for; as if I was one you had bred and raised. You would sit quiet but intense on the sidelines making sure Sierra and I knew just what to do to make me look like a dream. You always cheered along side the rest of the crew and waited for that champion handshake alongside us all summer long.

Thank you for the words of encouragement.

Every time a “good luck” or “she looks good” came from your tongue the confidence level of Sierra and I boosted about 100%. You didn’t have to tail me through the make up ring or brush my hair one last time but you did and every time you did it was with some encouraging phrase that put us in the game.

Thank you for the congratulations.

You helped rush me to the wash rack to give me an ice bath after the big win. You grabbed a fan to cool me off and rewarded me with a pat on my head. You gave Sierra a high five as she stood drenched in sweat after our champion title in the ring. Thank you for being there to congratulate us on something we were so happy to achieve.

Thank you for being here to see it all happen.

From my first class win to my Champion Angus title at DuQuoin and all the ups and downs in between thank you for all you did and watching me progress into the production female I am today. I know it was a long road but I can’t thank you enough for guiding Sierra and I along the way.

Thank you for teaching us how to live.

If there’s anything I can thank you the most for it is how to live each day to the fullest. Thank you for always being a goofball no matter the situation. We all appreciate how much you impacted our lives and motivate each and everyone of us to be more like you. We each reach to take a page out of your book and look at life the same way that you did. Thank you for impacting my life, my showman’s life, and all others that traveled through the barns and knew your shining face. You do you, cowboy. Fly high, and don’t forget us down here because we always need your help.

While I’m still here I want to thank the rest of the fitters, second families, or just anyone willing to help a hand during my show career and Sierra’s years showing as well. You all have made an impact in our lives by believing in us, encouraging us, supporting us, and watching our journeys unfold. As I head back out to the pasture, I want to remind you to always live life to the fullest and do you. Tomorrow is never promised, tell the one’s who mean the most to you that you love them and that you care for them; remind them just how much they mean to you. I also ask you to take a page out of Justin’s book and make that cowboy proud. Until next time, just enjoy the ride.

Yours truly,


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