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Counting down to fair: My favorite memory

Lisa attempts to quiet "her" sheep while "showing" at last year's fair.

Last year, I covered the sheep club kids from the time they purchased their lambs through the official weigh-in, including a hands-on showmanship class, the pre-show prep to the crowning of the champions.

And then a very fun thing happened.

They surprised me with my own sheep to show in a fun class for beginner showmen.

And one of the spectators was kind enough to take some photos of me attempting to replicate what the kid’s had done for the previous few hours that night.

Lisa attempts to set up "her" sheep.

Believe me, even with a halter and lead rope, it’s not easy, and I’ve shown dogs for years so I thought I had half a clue about how to show an animal. But I found out rather quickly that showing a dog and showing a sheep require very different techniques.

For starters, you can’t use bait to lure the sheep into position. In fact, the youth don’t even have a halter and a lead rope as I did to guide them.

And I’ve shown some large dogs, but none of them weighed as much as these sheep. And the youth guide their sheep around the ring and set them up with their hands on the animal’s heads; they don’t have a halter and lead to hang onto.

I quickly gained a new appreciation for the time and practice these kids put in before they show their animals at the fair. And what they go through once inside the ring when showing their sheep or swine, goat, steer or dairy calf. So please give them a huge round of applause, win or lose.

One thing’s for sure, though, showing an animal is fun.

And I smile every time I look at my pretty participation ribbon.

A very patient judge shows me how to set up "my" sheep.
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