By Charlene Carlisle
At long last I am sitting down at the computer in an attempt to reiterate my last six weeks. Time has rushed by and has left me little time to write down all the info, so please excuse any oversights but feel free to let me know so that I can correct them. The youth shows are a lot of fun but by the time they are finished, so am I!
The Stars and Stripes Livestock Show has been around for 14 years and takes place in Moorestown, NJ, right in my back yard and I mean that literally, it is my back yard, actually my side yard. This is a youth show held on the last Sunday in June every year. It is run by a few families who wish to maintain an agricultural presence and promote livestock involvement, showing and education to the public. We offer shows for all species and run 100% on donations. Stars and Stripes has obtained NJ Fair Status and is a 501c3 nonprofit organization, allowing any donations to be tax deductible. Special thanks to all who help support us and our youth. This year we had 84 head of sheep (from four states) which included Meat, White Wool and NC Wool divisions, as well as market lamb classes. Fitting and Showmanship was well received with 30 youth participating. Fun and learning is encouraged with minimal pressure and lots of prizes and smiles. Our youngest was three years old with our oldest being twenty-one. No affiliation with 4H or FFA is required and sheep do not have to be registered. This year beef cattle, meat and dairy goats, poultry, rabbits and small animals made their way to our arena and fun was had by all. Romneys were not the only sheep present but they held their own in the ring. The following Romney Juniors participated: Alexandra Rogers (NJ), Ava Jo Hayes (NJ), Hunter Hayes (NJ), Colton Hayes (NJ), Molly Stark (PA), McKinley Stark (PA), Elijah Stark (PA), Kyle Pearson (NJ), and Sarah Pearson (NJ). Many pictures can be found on the Stars and Stripes Face Book page, as well as the web site. Please consider this show next year for any first time showman and any other youth, it gives the kids a warm up/practice show before their county shows start.
The All American Jr Sheep Show is a spectacular event that happens every year around 4th of July weekend and travels to different states. This year it was in Michigan at MSU (East Lansing). The university and the All American staff go out of their way to make this a fun, family event. Visit their web site for all of their activities, too many for me to mention here but well worth the trip, no matter what state. This year there were 372 exhibitors from 25 states, 1667 head of sheep from 19 different breeds. The Romney Show consisted of 10 juniors and 29 head. I would encourage kids to attend this show to make friends, have fun and network for your future. The following Romney youth attended: Alexandra Rogers (NJ), Ethan Kennedy (NY), Caitlin Plank (MI), Ethan Plank (MI), Annabelle Miller (MD), Catherine Hromis (NH), Teresa Hromis (NH), Julie Hromis (NH), Megan Higgins (CT), and Emma Rogers (SD). Top awards were plentiful with Ethan Kennedy receiving Champion Ram, Champion Ewe and Reserve Champion Ewe. Alexandra Rogers had Reserve Champion Ram. Young Flock and Best Four Head was also earned by Ethan Kennedy. Best Fleece went to Emma Rogers. Emma Rogers also had First and Second Ewe Fleece, and Megan Higgins had Third. Ram Fleece awards went to Megan Higgins (First & Third) and Caitlin Plank had Second. Many other contests were participated in and awards received. Please feel free to check out the website for complete listings. It is amazing the creativity that our youth have and the projects that they can complete. All of the extra areas of competition earn points towards the Top Gun (Buckle) award, this year the Top Gun went to Ethan Kennedy. Talk to some of our youth breeders and ask them what they are doing, you will not be disappointed in that conversation.
The last show that I just returned from was the Northeast Youth Sheep Show held in West Springfield, MA. This is also a very well run, fun show for youth also. Romneys are the second largest breed show with 85 head signed up and 22 kids. This show usually happens around the third weekend in July from Thursday to Sunday, each day is packed with things to do from start to finish. Participants were Ethan Kennedy (NY), Tim Walker (NH), Megan Higgins (CT), Phebe Alley (NY), Teresa Hromis (NH), Cady Higgins (CT), Catherine Hromis (NH), Bekah Parent (VT), Cooper Chapin (NH), Ellora Chapin (NH), Ava Jo Hayes (NJ), Courtney Lyman (CT), Alexandra Rogers (NJ), Nate Trojanoski (CT), Megan Dion (NY), Meghan Malloy (CT), Melissa Wydra (CT), Brandi Babcock (NH), Julie Hromis (NH), Penny Freeman Kemp (CT), Catherine Primavera (CT), and Kassandra Sebas (CT). Skillathon is divided up by age groups (not breeds) and two of our Romney breeders were first in their appropriate age groups, Megan Higgins in the Junior Group and Cady Higgins in the Novice Group, both of these sisters also placed as Supreme Showman in their age groups. In the fleece show, Bekah Parent had Grand Champion Fleece and Nate Trojanoski had Reserve Grand Champion. Most of the fleeces exhibited were Romneys. In the show ring placings were as follows: Champion White Ram and Champion and Reserve Champion White Ewe went to Ethan Kennedy, Reserve Champion White Ram was presented to Megan Higgins. Phebe Alley received Best White Fleece. Champion Natural Colored Romney Ram went to Tim Walker and Reserve Champion Natural Colored Ram was secured by Nate Trojanoski. The Champion Natural Colored Romney Ewe went to Ethan Kennedy and Cooper Chapin received Reserve Champion Natural Colored Ewe. Best Natural Colored Fleece went to Ethan Kennedy. The grand finale of the day was a revolving trophy for the Best Headed Romney. This trophy was presented by Graeme Stewert, in honor of Sue, and Ellora Chapin was the honored recipient. Ellie’s white yearling ewe is a beauty and ironically enough the ewe’s name is Princess Sue. Great job by all of our youth, our future is looking good in and out of the show ring. As a last note, every year Smiling Sheep Farm donates a pair of hand shears to a youth who mentors and promotes our industry and our youth, this year it went to Phebe Alley, a very well deserving young adult!
This concludes the most recent youth shows, please continue to support our youth, they are a great asset to our breed and industry. As a side note, the Romney Junior Spectacular Show is at NAILE in November and we need to rally our breeders, Open and Juniors. We are on probation this year and if we don’t make our minimum numbers, we will be out. NAILE is the largest and prestigious sheep show in the world. If you have been thinking about coming, now is the year to do it. Check website or contact me for further information.