Pipi’s Pasture: A tribute to Megan

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It’s calving season here at Pipi’s Pasture. Yesterday, one of our granddaughter Megan’s cows surprised us by having twins. We usually get a set of twins each year, but it’s this cow’s first experience with twins.

Since Megan lives in Bailey, she hasn’t gotten to see the twins yet. One thing is for sure, though: Megan will love them.

photo

Diane Prather

Megan loves animals, and they love her. She shows market and breeding beef and sheep and market swine at the Park County Fair, Colorado State Fair, National Western Stock Show and other livestock shows.

When Megan comes to visit she usually heads to the corral or cow pasture before coming to the house. She has a way with the animals, getting them to do things that nobody else can get them to do. Her dad swears that during a “catch-it” contest some years past, a sheep stood still and waited for her to get there with a halter.

Another time, in the fall when we were sorting calves, some of us decided to take a break. We watched from the house as Megan put a rope halter on a heifer calf that had never been haltered before. Then she led the heifer around, stopping once in a while to put her arm around the animal’s neck. That same day, she haltered several other calves, some of which put up a fight, but she ended up leading them, too. It’s no wonder that Megan’s education, now as a junior in high school, has taken her to a nearby college where she is enrolled in a health sciences program and that she is working weekends at a veterinary clinic.

This past January, during the National Western Stock Show in Denver, Megan had a memorable experience during the Sheep Lead competition. It involved a special little animal.

The Sheep Lead Contest, also held during other livestock competitions around the country, is as the name suggests. Lady competitors (Megan said “of any age”—at least at Stock Show) lead a sheep around the ring. However, the contest is special because each lady sews a wool outfit to wear and sews one for the sheep, too.

This year, Megan’s outfit was a wool dress made from 100 percent black wool and accented with stripes of bright aqua. A black scarf, held together with a black and silver bow, completed the outfit. Jolie, Megan’s ewe, wore a black and silver collar with a black cape attached. Each lady wrote a little story about herself, too.

Megan told me, “We got all prettied up. There was elegant piano music as someone read the stories about us.”

But there was one difference with Megan’s choice in sheep for the contest this time. She took Jolie’s two-and-a half-week-old lamb into the ring with them. She allowed him to follow along.

Each lady had a military escort, as is the custom in the Sheep Lead. This year, the escort represented the Air Force. The little lamb decided to chew on his clothes. Megan said her escort didn’t know what to do. Then the lamb decided to nibble on potted geraniums that were placed around the ring. The judge “shooed” him away from them. The lamb watched, and when he got a chance he went right back to the plants. The audience enjoyed watching him.

When they stopped walking around the ring the lamb decided to nurse. Then he took a little nap.

It was time for the awards presentation. Megan said, “Come on, Jolie’s baby.”

The baby lamb got up and followed. The audience responded with approving sounds. He was the only lamb in the Sheep Lead — perhaps the only lamb that had ever been in a Sheep Lead.

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