J.B. Massey watches intently over a line of about 27 youths gently holding their lambs around the neck Friday morning.
His partner, Pete Dempsey, motions for the youths — students at Massey’s Show Lamb Camp — to walk their lambs in a circle around the arena at the Moffat County Fairground.
As the lamb and student caravan proceeds, Dempsey points and makes suggestions to the student handlers about how to better control their lambs.
The students quickly make adjustments, poking and prodding their lambs into compliance.
“What we are trying to do is train kids to excel with their 4-H and FFA lamb projects,” Dempsey said. “The No. 1 emphasis is showmanship.”
In addition to showmanship, students at the camp are taught correct feeding, shearing and selection of lambs for showing.
In essence, the camp tries to teach the youths, ranging from ages 9 to 17, how to bring out a lamb’s “full potential in the show ring,” Dempsey said.
When a lamb is shown it is judged on their structure, balance, condition and muscle content in addition to how the handler controls and directs the animal.
“These animals are going to show so it is a little bit different than just raising them out in the pastures,” Dempsey said.
The lamb camp started Thursday and will conclude today.
Massey said there is a need for lamb camps in rural and agricultural parts of the country like Craig.
He said it could take years for students to learn how to show lambs, but the camp can help speed up the process.
For more on this story, read the Saturday Morning Press or visit www.craigdailypress.com.