Last week I received an email out of the blue from my (much-admired) friend, ag writer Leesa Zalesky.
“Congrats!” the subject line read.
And inside: “Congratulations girl! You won 2nd place best overall blog! Woot woot!!!! I knew it!!!”
I would imagine normal people would text news like this, but because I am hopelessly out of date, dear Leesa had to email me. I emailed back: “WHAT?! I had no idea!”
And she replied: “Awards handed out this morning in Salt Lake. Linda texted me. She and John are there.”
That’d be Linda Grosskopf and John Goggins, Leesa’s editor and publisher in her work for the Western Ag Reporter out of Billings, Montana. (By the way, the WAR deserves congrats, too, for a couple of second-place finishes as well as a FIRST PLACE finish in the Livestock Publication Council’s annual contest — FIRST for Leesa’s amazingly-researched, well-written series on the killing of an Idaho rancher.)
Though I’m no longer affiliated with the WAR myself, I will always be Linda’s mentee — and that’s why, as she sat at the LPC awards ceremony in Utah representing the WAR, she immediately contacted Leesa with news of my blog’s second-place finish. Leesa subsequently passed the word along to me.
You might remember that a few months ago I wrote about my decision, under Leesa’s encouragement, to enter the Livestock Publication Council’s annual contest for writers and publications. (Check out: So… I entered a contest.) I wasn’t sure I was qualified to be a part of such a contest, but reasoned that professional feedback on my blog would be valuable, whether it was good or bad. Then I fretted that the $200 I’d spent on the entry fee might’ve been better spent taking my little family out for a weekend at a hotel with a swimming pool. Or, even better, on a haircut and a second (yes, second) bra for myself.
But before I knew it, I was entered, and there was no backing out. As the next months passed by, I tried not to care too much if I ever heard any results out of the deal. For unrelated reasons, along about July I fell into a funk wherein I was questioning my identity as a writer, wondering what I’d been thinking subjecting the public to my sub-par abilities and quacky opinions. (Other people fall into funks too, right? It’s not just me and Ernest Hemingway, right?)
And then came the exciting news from the two wonderful ladies who have nurtured my potential and who sincerely care whether or not I keep writing — and who, I would venture to guess, were as excited as I was when my blog finished in 2nd place. Linda even snapped a photo of the results publication, live and at the meeting, and texted to Leesa, which Leesa emailed to me as proof that they weren’t pulling my leg:
So there I am, right behind the Certified Angus Beef blog. My heart is very full seeing it in print: Perhaps in four short sentences the judge captured everything I would hope a reader would feel after reading my stuff.
The reason I’ve waited this long to share my exciting win with you is because I was kind of waiting for an official announcement from the LPC. I had something Publishers Clearing House-ish conjured in my mind. You know, a knock on the door, confetti and balloons, the RFD-TV crew waiting on the lawn with cameras rolling.
Alas, there has been no knock. But just yesterday (actually, what day is it now? I’ve lost track) the official 2017 contest results were posted to the LPC website in a decidedly nonchalant sort of way, and sure enough, my category is there and my name is there — the very last paragraph in 17 pages of results. And that, dear readers, is good enough for me.
Anyhow, who needs Ed McMahon when you’ve got Leesa and Linda on your side?
© Tami Blake