At Boone County Fair, sheep compete in uncomfortable heat

Tuesday, July 26, 2011 | 10:23 p.m. CDT; updated 11:18 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 27, 2011
A sheep waits as Columbia FFA adviser Larry Henneke shears its wool before Tuesday's Sheep Show at the Boone County Fairgrounds.

COLUMBIA — Participants of the 4-H Sheep Show at the Boone County Fair said the hot weather had serious effects on their preparation for the show as well as on the livestock.

“It’s been harder this year with it being so hot,” said participant Brendan Rost of Midway. He said the weather forces owners to walk their sheep early or late at night.


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Speckled sheep owner Katlin Rankin described the same problem. “There’s some nights when you don’t get back to the house until 2 a.m.,” she said.

Despite the heat, a crowd of approximately 100 people packed the bleachers Tuesday evening around the livestock at the Boone County Fair Show Palace.

Participant Alyssa Giles said the heat affected more than just her preparation for the fair.

“Not only do the people exhaust, so do the animals,” she said, after showing her Class-8 sheep. “It’s harder to keep them hydrated, and they just don’t want to move around as much.”

The heat also attracts flies, an additional problem for livestock owners. “We’ve had to take care of a lot of fly bites,” Giles said, which can have negative effects on the sheep’s appearance and also their judging in the competition.

The biggest issue for Giles was the heat’s effect on her sheep’s weight. Because the sheep must hold a certain weight to be shown, getting the sheep to eat was a priority.

“You and I don’t want to eat a lot when it’s hot either,” she said.

Class-7 sheep showman Sam Rhoads said the heat also could affect the sheep’s health.

“They kind of get a cold,” he said, also adding that the weather can affect “their attitude.”

Not all of the participants were particularly worried how their sheep placed in the competition.

The show began with the Pee Wee category, with children as young as 3 years old leading livestock around the ring with the assistance of older friends and family.

Dan Rhoades, whose 9-year-old son Shane participated in the Pee Wee category for his second year, said the category’s appeal was being uncompetitive.

Brothers Gentry and Hayden Duncan, 6 and 4 years old respectively, agreed that being in the show wasn’t too hard.  

The only prize they cared about was the red bucket of goodies they were awarded for participating.

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