Two members of local 4-H clubs took 16 top honors in the market lamb and breeding lamb classes this week at the 2016 Fayette County Fair.
4-H member Andrew Guthrie can tell you a thing or two about market lambs. The 11-year-old won eight awards for his sheep in the 2016 Fayette County Jr. Fair.
He was the overall grand champion market lamb, the overall grand champion open class market lamb, and overall champion crossbred market lamb. He placed second overall for market lamb showmanship.
“I couldn’t believe I had won. It was the first that I had won grand champion and it was only my third year showing,” said Guthrie.
He said his lamb really cooperated and did well for him because they had gotten used to being worked.
“I need to put hard work and effort in to do well at the show,” said Guthrie.
His hard work earned him two weight class champion awards as well.
“My sheep is one of the best, it’s one of the best species in the state,” said Guthrie.
But getting his sheep ready for a show was a challenge, he said, probably the hardest animals to show after cows and pigs.
“It’s hard to get all your lambs ready,” said Guthrie. “You have to bathe them and make sure they’re not dirty and sheer them. You have to make sure they look good. The judge said I had a really nice lamb. It had more muscle than the reserve champion (market lamb) and that’s why I got grand champion (market lamb).”
For Austin Etzler, honored this week with eight awards for his sheep in the Jr. Fair, working with breeding sheep is his passion.
“For different lambs and sheep, I felt nervous because they were scared and jumpy. I didn’t know if they would get first or last or how they would do,” said Etzler.
They did pretty well, earning Etzler the honor of supreme grand champion ewe and ram, meaning he had the best breeding ram and ewe in the Jr. Fair.
In the sheep breed show, he was named grand champion overall ram and grand champion overall ewe. His Dorset ewe was reserve grand champion. Etzler was also named champion AOB (all other breeds) lamb on a Dorset.
In sheep showmanship, Etzler was third place for overall sheep showman.
Etzler says he has been working with sheep for as long as he can remember.
“Three or four years old, I was out bottle feeding the baby lambs,” he said.
Today, Etzler helps feed, water and sheer 50 or 60 sheep at his family’s Ram and Ewe Farm and AJ Hamps.
It’s his fourth year showing sheep at the Fayette County Fair.
He said he likes to “go to shows and be with all my sheep friends,” but he contributes his success to his parents and to different people who have pushed him to do better, like his grandfather who died in January.
“He really pushed me. He would say, “Mister, let me tell you somethin’,’ and then he would tell me how to do my best and have fun and how to show my sheep—but he’d never shown sheep,” said Etzler.
Both Guthrie and Etzler will be showing their sheep next week at the Ohio State Fair in Columbus.
Reach Ashley at the Record-Herald (740) 313-0355 or on Twitter @ashbunton