Showmen baa-ttle for titles at Junior Market Lamb Show
By Renee Carey
Published in News on October 4, 2005 1:51 PM
Will Coor of Selma wasn't sure which end of the line he was on as he waited for the judge in the Open Junior Market Lamb Intermediate Showmanship competition to announce the Grand Champion.
When he realized he was on the winning end, he stood for a minute or two, listening to Judge Brent Jennings describe him as a showman who "just doesn't make any mistakes."
Then, he slowly led his lamb out of the ring.
A few minutes later, Will was still stunned, even though now he had a blue ribbon in his hand.
"I was surprised," he said, his eyes still big from the victory. "I really wasn't sure if I had won at first."
The competition was fierce in the intermediate competition on Monday at the Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair. Will had to beat not only the first round of showmen to get into the finals, but 11 other competitors in the final heat.
The 12-year-old said he knew his lamb, Belle, was having a good night.
When she isn't, he said, it's obvious.
"When she isn't having a good day, she's antsy and moves her feet a lot," Will said.
And when you are trying to control a sheep, that not-moving factor is important.
The competitors in the senior and intermediate showmanship categories cannot use a halter to keep their lambs in line. They have to control the animals by holding their heads, which can be a task when a lamb decides it has had enough of the judge and the show ring.
Will knows what to do when he is in the ring. After all, he started showing lambs and steers when he was 5. His parents, Bill and Jane Coor, helped him get his start, he said.
"Keep the movement smooth and keep your eye on the judge," he said.
For little Brandon Gillen, his first round in the novice category was more about fun than anything else.
Although he wasn't among the final five chosen to compete for the title, the 3-year-old was just as happy as he led his lamb out of the ring.
After all, he got a green ribbon.
Why does he like to show lambs?
"It's fun," he said as he ran off, waving his ribbon so he could watch it fly in the breeze.
Later, his mother, Aimee Gillen, would corral him long enough to get him to talk about his lamb.
"I love showing Gina," Brandon said, again running off to play with his ribbon.
Mrs. Gillen said she started showing cows when she was 5. Lambs, she said, were where she and her husband, Robert, wanted Brandon to start.
"He just loves animals," she said.
Later, Brandon's sheep would place first in its weight class.
This time, he got a blue ribbon. And he was just as thrilled. They both looked pretty, flying in the breeze.
The Grand Champion in the novice division was 8-year-old Rachel Garrou of Elm City, whom the judge described as smooth and in control in the ring.
After her victory, she was still composed, giving only her lamb's name, "Lightning," and her secret: "practice every day."
Taking home the Grand Champion trophy in the senior showmanship class was Emilou Phelps of Creswell.
Grand Champion honors in the overall lamb show went to Ashley Haigler of Pinnacle, while the Reserve Champion trophy went to Alyson Moore of Selma.
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