4-H and FFA members show lambs at market lamb show

Tuesday, July 27, 2010 | 10:09 p.m. CDT; updated 11:16 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 27, 2010
James Walters, 13, left, and Lisa Roberts watch in amusement as Lesleah and Lisa Roberts' sheep shows off a baseball cap borrowed from James on Tuesday at the Boone County Fairgrounds.

COLUMBIA — Exhibitors struggled to keep their lambs perfectly poised as a judge evaluated each one at the market lamb show Tuesday at the Boone County Fair.

An estimated 55 exhibitors of 4-H and Future Farmers of America marketed 90 lambs, said Larry Heneke, market lamb superintendent and FFA adviser.

Heneke said the FFA and 4-H organizations give children the chance to experience raising animals and the responsibility that it brings.

“You can tell them about (raising an animal), but unless they do it, they won’t fully understand,” he said.

The Columbia FFA had 20 exhibitors participate in the event and showed 60 lambs, said Heneke. The exhibitors weigh the lambs in May and then have to feed, wash and walk them until the final weigh-in before the fair.

Morgan George, 16, has exhibited lambs since she was 8 years old and helped her dad exhibit at an even younger age. George received first place for her class-two lamb. Judge Cody Sloan liked her lamb for its muscle tone, length of the body, power of the legs and attractiveness of the walk.

“The judge looks over the top of the lamb to see how thick it is, the last rib to the hip for the length, the thigh for thickness and how pretty the walk is,” George said.

Hard work and responsibility are what it takes to succeed in the fair, George said.

“It teaches kids to feed (the lamb) and to walk it,” she said. “If you don’t work hard, you won’t do good in the fair.”

Children often start becoming involved with these events from a young age. Three-year-old Rilee West exhibited a lamb in the pee wee class with the help of her 9-year-old brother, Garrett West. This show was Rilee’s second time exhibiting a lamb.

“I had to help her when she lost control of the sheep,” Garrett West said.

Rilee West could not hide her excitement when she proudly showed her bucket of prizes, which included a trophy, ball, water bottle and candy, her favorite of which was the candy. Garrett West also exhibited a sheep at the show.

George said she was happy with her performances but still expressed the stress of the event. 

"You want to win, so you are trying your hardest," George said. "You want the lamb to do everything you want it to."

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