I'm not sure I've ever been to the Iowa State Fair four times in one year and I'm definitely going to have to think long and hard before I do it again, at least the way we did it this year. Four days of showing sheep meant six days of work at the Fair for John, Brent and Paige and Calvin. I settled for the four days only because I'm wimpy. Most mornings meant a 4:30 a.m. wake up and some days lasted till the dinner hour. It's amazing how many people are out and about early, especially at the Fair.
FFA and 4-Hers were dressed in their boots and yielding brooms and shovels as they worked to clean up the aisle and around their sheep pens. The sheep roused quickly when someone was in their area, with hopes of breakfast being served. The baaing began and soon the sheep barn was noisy with a sheep chorus of, "I'm hungry." The lambs jumped their front legs up on the gates, making sure they were noticed and hoping to get closer to the feed troughs. It gradually got quieter again as feeding was complete but the activity continued to build. Lambs were being walked, washed, and groomed for the competition of the day.
The aisles were busy all day long as exhibitors made trip after trip to the show ring. Classes were divided by purebred, white face, speckled face, black face; ewes and wethers; and by weight and breeding and market lamb classes. From two to 30 head in each class. Competition was fierce and the judges had plenty of work ahead. The stands and all areas around the ring were shoulder to shoulder spectators, many with cameras or brushes and the program in hand.
The youth of Iowa can be proud of their hard work and the excellence they showed in the ring. I was especially proud of Paige and Calvin and the efforts they put in to preparing the lambs for show and making the lambs look their best in the ring. They both did well with their lambs and were recognized for their quality showmanship. They took time to answer questions and let their lambs be petted by visitors who were thrilled at the sight of 'real' sheep!
"In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven" (Matthew 5:16 NIV).