Thursday, August 24, 2017

2017 White Pine County Fair - Part 1: Livestock

 After months of feeding, watering, walking, and trying to tame the lamb, it was time to take him to the fair. (We left his companion behind at home because he was a little sick. Thanks to Dave for keeping an eye on him.)

We arrived at the fair on Friday to weigh-in the lamb. Minimum weight was 100 pounds. "Trouble," (Desert Boy's nickname for the sheep) made it in at 101 pounds. He had been having an up-and-down feeding issue the last month and a half, so he didn't gain as much as we had hoped. But at least he made it in. Desert Girl was styling in front of the Sheep and Goat barn.

We entered our other exhibits (coming in the next post), and Desert Boy did Skill-a-thon (answer questions about animals) and showmanship clinic. Then we saw one of the horse races, went to the BBQ dinner, and then went to bed at a local motel. Saturday morning we were up early to get to the fairgrounds and wash the sheep.

Our preparations were rather simple, wash and brush the sheep. We observed others applying shoe polish or hair dye to the sheep's legs to make them darker and ice to the back to make it firmer.

We had a little spare time, so we decided to take Trouble out for a walk.

We had been coaching Desert Boy that if the sheep started to make a run for it, he was supposed to hang on and smile. He listened!

He seemed fairly confident, so we went back to the barn and waited for his class to be called.

Finally, it was time. (This photo is really overexposed, but I love the kids in their 4-H clothes. And the bib number conveniently covered Desert Boy's grass stains from getting drug on the grass earlier by the lamb).

Desert Boy kept his smile on.

Desert Boy weighs considerably less than the lamb, so it wasn't easy for him to control it (spending more time with the lamb before the fair would have helped). But he kept the lamb with him the whole time.

Much to our surprise and delight, he got a blue ribbon!

Then we watched the cousins with their steers. Megan ended up with a nice fourth place finish.

And Kayli, just barely peeking over her steer, had a good sixth place finish (also blue ribbon).

We weren't done yet, it was still time to show again for showmanship. Desert Boy and the sheep were getting along much better by now.

Showmanship was really long, and Desert Boy had a harder time keeping his eyes on the judge and showing his beautiful smile. He finished second to last, but still got a blue ribbon. (Grade inflation seems to have also affected judging, but we won't complain!)

Back in the pen, Desert Boy pretends he's mutton busting. It was a total joke, as after last year's experience with Desert Girl mutton busting and Desert Boy calf riding, neither ever want to rodeo again. And that's quite okay with me, it should help keep us out of the emergency room.

We spent the rest of Saturday looking at the exhibits and wandering around the fair (coming in next post), as well as going to a friend's birthday party and out to dinner.

We got to bed a little late, but still had to get up early to get the sheep ready Sunday morning for the White Pine County Junior Livestock Show and Sale.

The buyers had breakfast provided and then settled onto the bleachers by the covered arena.

Desert Boy with his sheep.

They're getting ready to go in.

Desert Boy kept his smile on. We were lucky to have some friends bidding on the lamb, and Desert Boy got a good price. That money will be going into his college fund.

The sheep still tried to get away, but Desert Boy managed to hold on. And even smile.

Photo with the buyers and the lamb trying to escape again. Thanks so much to the Gonders/Lystrups!

After a little break from the fair to run errands, it was time to go back and load the lamb on the livestock truck that was taking all the market animals away. The kids held up better than me. But later that night, they were very sad.

It still wasn't time to go--we had to clean the stall. Desert Boy looks like he's ready to hit the beach next!
Overall, I think having a 4-H lamb taught Desert Boy a lot about caring for an animal and a little about ranching business. He also gained some confidence about showing an animal.

We are so grateful to those who helped, especially Charlie, Gwendy, Melanie, and Tom.

Right now Desert Boy says he's never going to show a lamb again. We'll re-evaluate after awhile and see if that's still the case. Looking back at some of these photos may make him want to try it again...or maybe not.

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