09/30/07 — 4-Hers parade their charges at lamb show

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4-Hers parade their charges at lamb show

By staff
Published in News on September 30, 2007 2:03 AM

Little Haille Whitehurst wasn't really that interested in what was going on in the ring Saturday at the Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair.

She had completed her round with her market lamb, Lollie, and was more concerned with running around and kicking up dirt.

After all, the 4-year-old, dressed in her western garb, was a cowgirl.

She says showing lambs is not that hard. She is a pro after all. This is her second year and third show this season. Next week, she and her mom, Kim, will make their way to the state fair in Raleigh. They are both from Speed, about an hour and half away.

Haille said it is not easy pushing a lamb around the ring, especially when it weighs more than you do.

The toughest part?

"Sometimes she acts crazy," the little redhead said matter-of-factly. "Just like Pumpkin."

Pumpkin is one of the lambs still at home, her mom says, notorious for being a little bit on the rowdy side.

But no mind. Haille put on her game face once again later in the afternoon and headed for the showmanship ring -- lamb in hand.

No ribbon here, but taking home second place in her lamb's weight class was not too bad -- and after all, there was still dirt to kick.

For Kirsten Petit of Johnston County, waiting for the judge to decide whose lamb would take home the top prize was more than a little nerve-wracking.

But the 15-year-old burst into a bright smile as she heard her name announced.

Her lamb, Bucky, was the Grand Champion.

A veteran herself, she has been showing for six years -- and has a steer in the livestock competition as well.

Of the two, she says, she prefers to show steer.

"You get to use a halter," she said.

Getting Bucky ready for the big time involves all sorts of preparation and practice, she said.

Including shearing.

"You have to wash and shear and clean everything," she said.

Cheering her on ringside was Kirsten's mom, Becky, with camera in hand.

She shares lamb-hauling duties with her husband, George.

Earning Reserve Champion honors was Westley Webb.

Wayne County entries in the competition did not fare as well as local supporters had hoped, but Rosewood FFA adviser Allison Jennings was pleased with her team's showing. It is the school's third year in the lamb-showing competition at the fair and the students are "still growing and still learning," she said, "but they've done absolutely wonderful today."

Nine team members showed lambs and almost as many Rosewood students came out to help work the show.

All but three members of the team were showing for the first time, Mrs. Jennings said.

Taking care of the lambs and learning to handle them in the ring builds confidence and maturity, she added.

"The students really seem to latch onto this. It teaches them responsibility, to have something that depends on you for everthing."

For Branden and Kelsie Roper of Raleigh, the show was another chance to hone their brother-sister competition. Branden, 16, and Kelsie, 18, both showed lambs on Saturday and plan to show them again today at the Dixie Classic Fair in Winston-Salem before going on to the State Fair.

Branden said that with his sister away at East Carolina University, he ends up having to take care of both lambs, but that he doesn't mind. The competition between sister and brother is friendly and they pull for one another.

Kelsie is studying for a career in education but Braden hopes to turn his love of animals into a career in livestock and plans to attend North Carolina State University. He said he has been showing livestock since he was in the sixth grade and has shown cattle, hogs and turkeys in addition to sheep.

-- Managing Editor Dennis Hill contributed to this report.