MOUNT VERNON — Earning first and second place in her weight class for lambs, with a family friend showing the second-place lamb, was a fine start to the early 4-H career of Julian Ball of the Better Livestock 4-H Club of Danville. She turned 10 on July 2, so fortune came her way once she hit double digits.
A good family friend, Alenah Boeshart, 16, of the Chapel View Barn Buddies 4-H Club of Danville, showed Ball’s natural-colored dark lamb, a Hampshire cross.
Boeshart started the lamb show judging by earning grand champion in the pen of three competition, with her three lambs taking home top honors: Baxter, 136 pounds; Tater, 137 pounds, and Stewart, at 138. Her mom, Sarah Boeshart, said her daughter normally shows a single lamb each year at the fair, as she did two years ago when she earned grand champion.
But this year, with the COVID-19 pandemic changing the way the fair did things, scaling shows back to emphasize health and safety, it felt right to mix things up. The pen of three champion and reserve champion are judged in their pens, the only lambs to be done so and that hasn’t changed from prior years. The single lambs were judged Monday in the Multi-Purpose Building arena. There were 80 lambs in total shown.
“It was an odd year for the fair so she decided to do something a little different,” Sarah Boeshart said of her daughter’s choice to show good things in threes.
Taylor Banbury, 4-H adviser with the Better Livestock 4-H Club in Danville, said the county fair trend for many years has been to show Hampshire crosses, such as the highly popular Suffolk Hampshire cross. “Hamps,” as they’re called, are known for their woolly legs and black faces.
“They have good muscle composition and appearance in the ring,” Banbury said. “They’re kind of showy.”
Joci Totten, 17, a member of the Future Go Getters 4-H Club of Bladensburg, decided to show two lambs this year but didn’t believe they would fare well due to not having enough weight gain recently. That has been attributable to the current month being a typically hot July, when many lambs just don’t have the appetite they normally do when the heat isn’t so oppressive, Banbury said.
Lambs are typically born at this time of year, through September, Banbury added, and put on considerable weight during winter months as they grow. They eat a mixture of corn and oats to put on the muscle — including through the hips to complement those tasty lamb legs — that judge Jesse Kimmel was looking for. Boeshart offered that if lambs are uniform in appearance and have hard, stout, “muscled up” features, including neck and shoulders, they should do well.
Rose Mills, the mother of Trevor Mills, 10, of Outsiders 4-H Club in Bladensburg, said her son’s first year showing lambs during a worldwide pandemic that has shut much of the Knox County Fair down is something he will always remember. It has been a fair of cancellations to some degree but one thing that can’t be canceled is a family out in force to support a dedicated 4-H member showing their animal. Trevor was also joined Monday by his dad, Kurt, and little brother, Hayes, just 23 months old and enjoying a carriage ride from dad.
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