Showmanship for children and sheep |

Showmanship for children and sheep

Moffat County Fair junior event showcases youths and livestock

Dan Olsen

— Emily Hepworth knows how to bounce back from a bad year.

The 17-year-old has been showing sheep at the Moffat County Fair since she was 9, and was in 4-H two years before that.

When asked how she did at last year’s fair, she just shakes her head.

“I’ve had champions before, but last year was an off year,” she said. “I didn’t do very good.”

Things came around this year for Hepworth as she received the champion award in senior showmanship for showing her lamb, Pretty Boy.

The judge even pointed out the features – maintaining eye contact with the judge, and presenting a good profile of the animal – that won the ribbon for Hepworth.

Participants said it takes many hours and days of training with your show animal to achieve top awards at the fair.

Twelve-year-old Darren McLaughlin is familiar with the process.

“You have to practice every day,” he said. “Get up every morning and work them, and working them at night.”

McLaughlin, who was in the Intermediate Showmanship class Wednesday, said he has been working sheep his whole life.

“Halter breaking them and getting them to lead is the hardest part,” he said. “If you’re going to show sheep, be ready for a lot of work.”

Eleven-year-old Kayla Hall, of Craig, took home the reserve intermediate showmanship award, but it was touch and go for a while.

“I thought my lamb was going to jump on me and make me fall over,” Hall said.

In addition to showing lambs, Hall was in the dog competition as well, keeping a busy schedule for someone who also is intermediate fair queen.

Trey Davis also had a few issues with his lamb, Gloria, but the 10-year-old knows what the problem was.

“They are really stubborn,” he said. “It’s hard when your lamb won’t walk.”

Like her fellow competitors, Cheyan Hill has been raising her market lamb, Reese, since she acquired him in March.

The 14-year-old advises others interested in raising lambs for the fair to work with their feet often. Getting them to brace and walk with a halter is the hardest part, she said.

Ten-year-old Jerrica DeLong placed second in junior showmanship in this, her third year at the fair. She said the toughest part in taking home a ribbon is the competition.

Brison Davis may be only 6 years old, but he did something no one else could brag about during Wednesday’s competition.

“I’m the only one to show my lamb without using a rope,” he said proudly. “It took a lot of practice. I work with them every day.”

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