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County Fair 2016 || Part 1

Aiden had a GREAT first year in 4-H!  We all have learned so much this first year, not just in the sheep project area but in how the entire 4-H program works.  It's a lot different now than when I was in 4-H and I am so happy that Aiden and our other kids get to have this amazing experience!

I'm breaking my fair recap into two parts - the first part will be all about the sheep.  The second part will have everything else. :)

You can read my other posts about Aiden's sheep HERE and HERE to get caught up.

We started off the Friday before fair having the sheep slick sheared.  This is a super close shear so the judge can see only the sheep's muscle tone and so you can't fluff up your sheep's wool and make them appear more muscular than they really are.  Aiden started by washing the sheep with Ivory dish soap.  They were pretty dirty from being out in the pasture for 2 1/2 months!

We are fortunate to have a show sheep producer as our 4-H leader so he was very helpful this entire year.  He was the one who sheared Aiden's sheep for him.

Sunday afternoon, in the worst humidity I think I've ever experienced (dew points in the 80's!), we loaded up the sheep and hauled them in to the fairgrounds!  It was so exciting!  Right as they were unloaded they were checked over by the vet - if any sheep have any diseases or issues they are sent right back home because they don't want all the sheep there to be infected.  Once they pass the inspection they are shuffled down the way to get weighed.  Their weight determines which sub-class they will be in.  Aiden's sheep were in the market classes because they were bred to be sold off to be butchered, basically.  Then they are broken down into either black faced or white/speckled faced, then broken down into either a ewe (female) or wether (male).  And finally, broken down by their weight.  So, for Skippy, she was in the Black Faced Market Ewe class and her weight was 119 and competed with other sheep that ranged from 113 - 119 lbs.  There were 4 Black Faced Market Ewe lamb sub classes.  The top 2 lambs in each sub class come back to the Champion Black Faced Market Ewe Lamb drive and compete for the Champion and Reserve Champion lamb.  Skippy got 3rd in her class so just missed the champion drive.  But we'll get to that in a bit.

After they were all weighed in it was time to get them settled into their pen.  We laid down wood chips for their bedding, hung their feed trough and filled their water buckets.  It was so stinking hot, we were all hot and sweaty and those lambs drank and drank their water.  We fed them a little feed, refilled their water and said goodbye for the night.

Monday was a pretty quiet day - we went in the morning to feed and water them.  That evening we went back to do the same and to also wash them and primp them for the show the next morning.

Tuesday morning the sheep show started nice and early at 8:00.  We got to the fairgrounds about 7:00.  We fed and watered the sheep then grabbed a cinnamon roll for breakfast while we waited for the show to start.  About 7:30 we decided to have Aiden walk Ted in the show ring to get him familiar with those surroundings - we were more nervous about how Ted would do in the ring than the other two.  After we put him back in the pen we sat in the show ring and watched the first few drives of sheep then went back to the barn to wash our 2 black face sheep again - their leg wool picked up a ton of wood chips and we had to primp them all over again.  Lesson learned!  Aiden's white face lamb had no leg wool so we just brushed her off and she was ready to go.

Tiny was Aiden's first sheep to show.  I really wanted Ted to be his first because we all knew he'd be the hardest to walk in the ring but he ended up being his last.  Andy and Aiden got Tiny haltered to walk her to the ring and I grabbed my seat and camera.  It was finally time!  He was in a class with only two other 4-Her's, one being his cousin!  Of the 3, Tiny came in 3rd.  She was by far the smallest.  We were all relieved to have that first lamb done and out of the way.

Andy and Aiden finished primping the 2 black faced lambs and then it was time to show Skippy.  Aiden and Skippy did great, she set up perfectly and we were happy with her 3rd place finish out of 8 lambs.

Finally it was Ted's turn!  As they were waiting to go in the ring I could see Andy walking Ted around - he was jumpy and nervous.  There was a big rain cell on it's way and every time there's weather coming in Ted would go nuts.  And guess what - he went nuts in the ring!  Aiden didn't even make it in the ring and that dummie took off!  Every time he'd get away Aiden would stay calm, walk after him and grab him and try again.  One of the helpers in the ring finally started staying by Aiden and Ted to help catch him.  Finally the judge asked for Ted's halter - hallelujah!  It made all the difference. Aiden was able to set him up after that and walk him by the head like he's supposed to.  He tried bolting again but luckily Aiden was able to grab the halter and catch him.  And guess what - that darn lamb got 2nd in his class!!!  We were so excited, except that meant Aiden had to show him a second time, ha ha!!! That second time, though, he was much calmer and didn't try bucking and getting away.  We walked him back to the pen and I am not afraid to admit I might have used my shoe to push him into his pen, ha ha!

Waiting in the show ring pens with Ted for the Champion Black Face Wether drive

We watched the rest of the show and then Aiden got Skippy ready for the Showmanship class.  In this class it's less about the sheep and more about the 4-Her, how they handle their animal and themselves and if it appears they kept good care of their animal. This is the class we wanted Aiden to do really well in.  They walked their animals around the ring and then the judge started separating them into 2 groups.  In Aiden's line he was third.  Finally the judge announced that the line Aiden was in was the purple ribbon winners -- he came in 3rd out of all the juniors competing!!!!  Oh my goodness, my heart nearly burst with pride!  I am certain the judge awarded him for being so patient with Ted while he was being a wild animal.  So many kids would have cried, would have thrown their hands up and said forget it but Aiden kept with him and persevered and it paid off for him!  I am so SO proud of that kid!  That made all those rides out to the farm, all those times dragging those sheep around, all those times getting buzzed by bugs TOTALLY worth it!

And with that his first year showing sheep for 4-H was over.  Andy and I are already so excited for next year and I think Aiden is too!

Friday was the auction and he sold 2 of his sheep.  The black faced ewe, Skippy, went back to the breeder.  She'll either be bred there or sold to another breeder.  The other two will be sold at the sale barn.

Raising and showing sheep was a wonderful experience for our family and I'm excited to continue doing so for the next 18 years as our kids go through 4-H!


  1. Wait to go Aiden!!! I cannot wait to hear about next year!!!

  2. What a detailed post. Made me understand it more. Way to go Aiden!!!

  3. Gah! Flashback to all my summers!!
    Aiden! He did SO WELL with Ted (stupid sheep)! I'm so excited for him! That's such an awesome achievement!
    I take it you'll be back at the fair next year with sheep? ;)

  4. Loved this so much! And oh Aiden, I am so proud of him too and I don't even know the kid!!! And he's so darn handsome in his jeans and with his smile! What a fabulous experience.

    I must say, my heart did a flip when I heard they were to be sent to market. Wahhh. I know that's what they are raised for but it still hurts my heart. Especially since my Kyle loves a lamb.

    You make me want to go to the fair . . . we have only been once here in GA so I think we will make it a priority this year!