Fair turns 'sheepish'

4-H children learn about life through lambs

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— Since sheep are not the most cooperative animals, the nine 4-H and Future Farmers of America children in the ring Thursday morning for the meat breeding ewe and breeding lamb class showed incredible patience.

The animals bleated and tugged at their owners while being walked into the ring. The children said no words to the animals or showed any frustration. Many just smiled at friends, family and the judge as they gingerly manipulated the protesting animal into position.

Even when the sheep belonging to 8-year-old Lysa Valora, the smallest competitor, would rear on its hind legs, rising above the girl's head, she kept her cool. Valora yanked on the rope connected to the animal to pull it down and return back to the line as if nothing had happened. She eventually walked out of the ring carrying a blue ribbon and wearing a proud smile.

Children at the Routt County Fair in Hayden completed the sheep and goat show Thursday morning and afternoon and then kicked off the swine show in the evening.

The sheep show has the second largest number of entries, with 44 children participating.

Classes cover the animals' value in context of the market, of its wool and its meat for ewes, lambs, rams and yearling rams.

One of the more coveted classes in the the sheep show is the Brenner Family Premium Class, in which longtime residents Gerald and Ann Brenner donate $500 for the top finishers to increase the popularity of the contest, 4-H Extension Agent Jay Whaley said.

Just like in the other classes, judges look for wool, meat and market qualities of the animal. But the catch is that the child has to raise the sheep for its whole life.

"That's what makes it special," Whaley said.

In other classes, the children can buy an animal someone else has raised.

Gerald and Ann Brenner were in crowd during the class. They said the reason they donate to the competition is because in the past all the animals in the Routt County Fair were raised completely by the children showing them.

"I feel like the kids should get the reward of raising their own animals instead of going out and paying a big price for lambs," Gerald Brenner said.

The Brenners have been involved with 4-H for 20 years and have had six children go through the program.

"I just believe in 4-H," he said.

In contrast to the sheep show, the goat show was small, with five animals showed. Whaley said this is only the third year goats are being sold at the fair and the price of the animal isn't that high. Last year, the champion goat sold for $475. The average for lambs at the fair last year was $810. But the popularity of the project is growing.

"A lot more kids are getting involved in the program, in part because they are fun to raise," Whaley said.

Fourteen-year-old Karlie Maneotis raised the grand champion and reserve champion goat and the grand champion ewe at the fair this year.

Whether goat or sheep, she said the main reason she enters is because it's fun, even if it takes up a large portion of time.

"It's a lot of work," she said. "Morning and night feeding them."

Whaley said many children exercise their sheep, which adds to the work that needs to be done.

However, pigs are a different story.

"You just feed those," he said. "You don't have to do quite as much labor."

More children are showing pigs than any other animal at the fair. Sixty-three animals were entered into the showmanship swine competition on Thursday evening. The same number will be in the market competition starting at 8 a.m.

Along with the ease of raising them, 4-H extension assistant Jill Altman said the children receive a good profit when it's time to sell.

"Last years swine prices were really high," she said.

Swine averaged $1,207 last year during the livestock sale at the fair.

Routt County Fair

Breeding Sheep Show

Meat Breed

Champion Female: Karlie Maneotis

Reserve Champion Female: Whittier Gates

Champion Male: Whittier Gates

Reserve Champion Male: Megan Baker

Ewe Lamb: 1. Whittier Gates, 2. Tyler Knott, 3. Karlie Maneotis.

Yearling Ewe: 1. Karlie Maneotis, 2. Karlie Maneotis, 3. Kimberly Rossi.

Ewe and Breeding Lamb: 1. Lysa Valora, 2. Matt Poulin, 3. Kelsey Samuelson.

Ram Lamb: 1. Whittier Gates, 2. Megan Baker, 3. Karlie Maneotis.

Ewe and Market Lamb Brenner Family Class: 1. Whittier Gates, 2. Megan Baker, 3. Lysa Valora.

Wool Breed

Champion Female: Joseph Long

Reserve Champion Female: Glenda Long

Champion Male: Keegan Thompson

Reserve Champion Male: Joseph Long Ewe Lamb: 1. Joseph Long, 2. Ryan Thompson, 3. Glenda Long.

Yearling Ewe: 1. Glenda Long, 2. Joseph Long.

Ewe and Breeding Lamb: 1. Brianna Wilhelm, 2. Keegan Thompson.

Ram Lamb: 1. Keegan Thompson, 2. Joseph Long, 3. Glenda Long.

Market Lamb Classes

Senior Sheep Showmanship

1. Tyler Knott, Grand Champion, 2. Daleena Babcock, Reserve Grand Champion, 3. Candice Moore

Intermediate Sheep Showmanship

1. Jesse Hayes, Grand Champion, 2. Glenda Long, Reserve Grand Champion, 3. Tyson Sweetser

Junior Sheep Showmanship

1. Kimberly Rossi, 2. Stephanie Moore, 3. Bailey Carrell

Market Lamb

Tyler Knott, Grand Champion

Kimberly Rossi, Reserve Grand Champion

Pair of Market Lambs Class 1

1. Tyler Knott, 2. Jesse Hayes, 3. Whittier Gates

Pair of Market Lambs Class 2

1. Kimberly Rossi, 2. Lynae Babcock 3. Cody Wirth

Goat Show

Goat Showmanship: 1. KImberlie Williamson, 2. Karlie Maneotis, 3. Cortni Denning

Dairy Goat: 1. Ann Yager

Dairy Goat - One Year: 1. Cass Sisto

Breeding Goat: 1. Kimberlie Williamson

Market Goat: 1. Karlie Maneotis, 2. Karlie Maneotis, 3. Cortni Denning

Swine showmanship

Senior Swine showmanship

1. Adam Grimes, 2. Tiffany Schaffner, 3. Audra Meade

Junior Swine Showmanship

1. Calla Manzanares, 2. Kylee Sweetser 2, 3. Andraea Hessenberger

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