Five-year-old Halle Hamilton feeds Magic during the "bum lamb contest" at the Routt County Fair on  Thursday afternoon. Halle was the only entrant in the contest, which is designed for children too young to participate in 4-H.

Photo by John F. Russell

Five-year-old Halle Hamilton feeds Magic during the "bum lamb contest" at the Routt County Fair on Thursday afternoon. Halle was the only entrant in the contest, which is designed for children too young to participate in 4-H.

Halle had a little lamb

Events for youngsters build excitement in future 4-H'ers

Advertisement

Routt County Fair schedule

- Today

"Ride Free 'til Five Fun Friday," sponsored by First National Bank of the Rockies, with bungee trampoline and bounce house free until 5 p.m.; Vendors and Midway open, free karaoke stage

8 a.m. Exhibit Hall opens

9 a.m. to noon Cloverbud for a day

10 a.m. Dress your animal, Multipurpose Building

Noon. 4-H/FFA Llama show, Multipurpose Building

1 p.m. Bucket calf contest, Multipurpose Building; 4-H/FFA Dairy/beef breeding show, Multipurpose Building

3 p.m. Beef showmanship, Multipurpose Building

5 p.m. Market beef, Multipurpose Building

6 p.m. Wine and beer contest/tasting, Exhibition Hall

7:30 p.m. Demolition Derby (tickets required), outdoor arena

- Saturday

Vendors and Midway open, free karaoke stage

8 a.m. Exhibit Hall opens

8:30 a.m. Mike Bell Construction roping, outdoor arena

10 a.m. Lion's Club Parade, downtown Hayden; Bev Mason Memorial Carriage Show, outdoor arena

11 a.m. DeLine Land & Cattle Co./North Forty Fence mutton bustin', outdoor arena

Noon. Calf riding, outdoor arena; Community Agriculture Alliance horseshoe pitching contest, field on east side of Multipurpose Building; 4-H/FFA round robin showmanship, Multipurpose Building

12:30 p.m. WSRHA/Fralick/Lind freestyle reining, outdoor arena

1 p.m. NWCC, horse races, track

3 p.m. 4-H presale/Bobby Robinson Memorial BBQ, field on east side of Multipurpose Building; live music by Kathy Louthan, field; free Coca-Cola floats courtesy of 93.7/102.3 KRAI and 55 Country, field

5 p.m. Junior Livestock Sale, Multipurpose Building

8:30 p.m. to midnight. Town of Hayden Barn Dance, with live music by Redline, field east of Multipurpose Building

- Sunday

Vendors and Midway open, free karaoke stage

7 a.m. Worship services with Pastor Fred Ellis, field on east side of Multipurpose Building

8 a.m. Exhibit Hall opens

9 a.m. Working ranch horse competition, outdoor arena; pretty baby contest, Exhibition Hall

10 a.m. Mayor's Brownie Contest and Commissioners' Cookie Basket Contest, Exhibition Hall; cookie contest judging, Exhibition Hall

11:30 a.m. Chuck Fulton Memorial Open Draft Horse Contest, outdoor arena

Noon. Partners Kids Sunday Games, track

1:15 p.m. Ranch Rodeo team auction, track

1:30 p.m. Mountain Valley Bank Ranch Rodeo, outdoor arena; calf riding, outdoor arena

2 p.m. DeLine Land & Cattle Co./North Forty Fencing mutton bustin', outdoor arena

2 to 6 p.m. Open class payout, home arts exhibits released, Exhibition Hall

- For more information, visit www.routtcountyfa...

As the smallest of triplets, Magic wasn't able to muscle her way past her siblings to feed from their mother ewe. But the lamb is just the right size for Halle Hamilton.

"She almost died," said Halle, 5, the lone entrant in the "bum lamb contest" Thursday at the Routt County Fair. "I like her really much."

The bum lamb contest is one of a few events that gives those too young to participate in 4-H an opportunity to show animals at the fair. A bum lamb is one that is raised on a bottle because its mother abandons it, dies or has more lambs than it can feed. Halle also participated in the mini goat contest, a similar event.

"That's the only thing I can do," Halle said. "I'm not old enough to sell real animals."

Before her events, Halle took Magic for a walk through the stands outside the show ring "because some little kids wanted to see her" and to get Magic used to the fair crowd.

"This is her first live - she's never been here in her whole life," Halle explained. "So, I just wanted to walk her around."

The fair is a decidedly less stressful affair for young Halle - who wore purple cowboy boots and had blue-stained lips from Pixy Stix while she walked Magic around the fairgrounds - than it is for older participants, including her brother and sister. Halle won't be faced with all sorts of life lessons such as the business side of raising animals and the pain of seeing them shipped off to market at the end of the week.

"It's just their pet lamb, you know," Routt County Extension Director CJ Mucklow said.

Magic is about 100 pounds too small to go to market, and Halle's mother, Keri Hamilton, said the plan is to fold Magic back into the family's flock of ewes anyway.

Halle was responsible for taking care of Magic for two months and has learned some basics of showmanship. She demonstrated how to properly walk around the front of an animal, rather than its rear. And although she and Magic are about the same weight, Halle demonstrated some impressive ranch toughness with a quick, firm yank of the rope whenever Magic wandered off course. Halle said Magic is well-behaved for the most part.

"I trained her too well. She's too nice to be a biter," said Halle, who laughed when asked about Magic's pink collar. "It's not for lambs. It's for cats."

Fair officials said that to keep 4-H programs strong, they have to build excitement in children at a young age.

"It's great entertainment for us. It's all for fun," 4-H Agent Jay Whaley said about the bum lamb contest. "It just makes them part of the fair. It's another event for the community to get involved in."

The Routt County Fair continues today with events including dress your animal, beef showmanship, a wine- and beer-tasting and contest, and a demolition derby.

Comments

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Requires free registration

Posting comments requires a free account and verification.