Youth Ramblings

by Site Admin on November 19, 2013

This summer was a busy one. I attended multiple youth shows, some as close as my back yard and others as far as 700 miles. Each offered something for everyone, some bigger than others but all a great learning experience whether you were an exhibitor, a breed representative, a parent, or just maybe had an interest in seeing how different shows were run. Whatever the reason, make the most of it, experience all that you can, and then make a conscious effort to share the positive points with other folks who share these interests. By traveling outside of your comfort circle, it offers you the opportunity to expand that circle, whether it is with new ideas, new friends or new enthusiasm. I usually come back physically tired but mentally stimulated. I will share briefly the shows that I visited.

The whirlwind started with the Stars and Stripes Livestock Expo in Moorestown, NJ. This is the 11th year for our little local show and was held on June 30th. This little show has grown and the barns were busting at the seams with a tremendous turnout of entries. Our purpose is to offer an educational experience to the public, promote agriculture and to offer youth of any age the experience of showing and learning about their species of choice. This year we had 85 sheep of various breeds, 40+ head of cattle, 45 goats (meat & dairy), poultry, and miscellaneous small animals. We offered a petting zoo, educational displays, and lots of hands on learning. The judges were eager to share their knowledge and the kids were eager to absorb it, and the public, just couldn’t get enough. Romneys represented about one third of the total sheep from six young ARBA breeders. Trophies and awards were plentiful and the smiles were contagious. These members were as follows: Austin Dean (DE), Ava Jo Hayes (NJ), Hunter Hayes (NJ), Kyle Pearson (NJ), Gregory Rogers (NJ), and Alexandra Rogers (NJ). Our youngest showman was 3 yrs old, and the oldest was 18 yrs old. The weather was dampened by a torrential down pouring of rain in the afternoon, but the spirits never wavered. The kids (and parents) all stuck it out til the end and our clean up crew stuck it out even longer. Thanks to all the participants and volunteers, without them, there would be no show.

From NJ, I drove cross country to Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI for the All American Jr Show. This show was held July 5th, 6th and 7th and was ARBA’s 4th year of participation. This youth show is spectacular. The sheep numbers were up to approx 1700 head with about 400 youth exhibitors and their families. MSU was a terrific host with great food and facilities. The Romney show consisted of 3 exhibitors with 26 sheep. The three Romney exhibitors were Ethan Kennedy (NY), Caitlin Plank (MI) and Ethan Plank (MI). The caliber of sheep ran deep and offered a nice sampling of the quality of sheep that our youth are raising. The exhibitors and their families were enthusiastic, supportive and helped each other in and out of the show ring. This is a pretty special show which encourages the exhibitors to not only show sheep, but to do educational projects, artistic layouts, computer ads, t-shirt logo designs, skillathon participation and even a basketball tournament. These extra activities allow the participant to accumulate points with the highest point person to win the highly coveted “top gun award” for each breed. This weekend provides fun for the entire family and MSU’s hospitality was exemplary. Next year the All American Jr Show will be in Kansas, Romneys will be taking the year off due to lack of participation in that part of the US. We will once again join the ranks of the All American in July 2015. Seems like a long ways off but will be here in a blink of an eye. Details to follow as they develop.

I returned home from MI long enough to do my scheduled shifts at the hospital and then was off again. This time it was closer to home and it was the NEYSS in Springfield, MA at the ESE (AKA BigE) fairgrounds. This show is the largest romney youth show in the US of which I am aware. This year there were 25 exhibitors and 61 head of romneys. The Romneys were the 2nd largest show. Romney exhibitors were Ethan Kennedy (NY), Ross Beed (CT),Jamie Coleman (CT), Phebe Ally (NY), Gregory Rogers (NJ), Alexandra Rogers (NJ), Hazel Glaude (CT), Devin Kennedy (NY), Sadie Moore (NH), Megan Higgins (CT), Bekah Parent (VT), Suzie Phillips (NY), Caroline Lafferty (NY), Jessie Hooker (VT), Katie Bombria (CT), Hannah Falcone (NH), Cadence Higgins (CT), Courtney Lyman (MA), Kylie Moy (NY), Cooper Chapin (NH), Ellora Chapin (NH), Melissa Wydra (CT), Katherine Cole (MA), Nate Trojanoski (CT) and Loriann Bacon (CT). Total youth exhibitors were 175 with 697 head of sheep. It is quite the site to see. Many of our Romney exhibitors also placed very well in the skillathon and quiz bowls. Also the Champion NC Fleece went to Ross Bead with his NC Romney. This is a very well run show and once again, I encourage folks to load their kids and sheep up, and just go. You won’t be disappointed.

Delaware State Fair on July 24th was the next show where Romneys were displayed in large numbers. Although, they did not have a breed specific show and the Romneys were shown in the White Wool Classes and the NC Wool Classes, the Romneys still out numbered the other breeds. They’re is hope that next year the Romneys will have their own show. As it was, the Romneys held their own and then some… both, the Supreme Wool Ewe and Supreme Wool Ram were Romneys, both owned by Austin Dean of Harrington, DE. I was bred, born and raised in Delaware, as was my husband, and the DE State Fair is where we actually met. Our families still reside in DE, so it is always a treat to go there to visit and see friends.

Next stop on the show circuit was the NJ State Fair, where the Romneys had their own show. NJ used to be known as the “Garden State” because of the abundancy of farms, these numbers are becoming less and less all the time but there are pockets of agriculture within the state that promote agriculture to the level that it deserves. The fair grounds are extremely nice with the folks running the show even nicer. Anybody that shows livestock where NJ is within their traveling area should check this show out for next year. They offer youth/4-H and open classes. It’s a great time.

Finally home for a few weeks so that I could work my full time hours before the next show. The National Show and Sale was in Novi, MI and was well attended, details to be addressed in separate article. I would like to quickly mention the 3 Junior members who attended, Katie Hacker (IN), Caitlin Plank (MI) and Ethan Plank (MI). Despite the fact that there were only 3 Juniors, the quality of livestock that they exhibited were of the highest caliber and if not for their ages, one would have thought they were long time breeders. Attempts were made to get the 3 of them together for pictures but this photographer just could not keep up with their busy schedules and never was able to realize a perfect Kodak moment. I will try to do better next time.

The next two shows were BigE in MA and Rhinebeck in NY. I attended both and talked with lots of folks, young and old. Unfortunately, you can tell my season is winding down as I was busy fitting and never snapped any pictures. I will be leaving for NAILE (KY) in a few days and will be helping with the JR show and participating in the Open Show … I will have plenty of photos when I return. Wish me luck to be able to keep up this pace and look for an article and pics in the not too distant future.

As always the coffee pot is on, stop by and visit.

Charlene Carlisle
Little Hooves Romneys

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