10/02/11 — Officials say lamb show fair's most competitive

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Officials say lamb show fair's most competitive

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on October 2, 2011 1:50 AM

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Maryanna Bennett, 16, positions herself and makes eye contact with the judge during the Open Junior Market Lamb Show competition Saturday at the Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair. Bennett placed first in senior showmanship.

The sound a lamb makes when someone slides a hand underneath its neck and lifts upward is difficult to put into words.

"I sure as, you-know-what, can't spell it," said Maria Santos, one of the dozens who filled the Wayne County Fairgrounds' bleachers Saturday to take in the Open Junior Market Lamb Shown. "I couldn't even make that noise if I tried."

But for Ms. Santos, her inability to mimic the animals that took to the ring was certainly not from a lack of exposure to it.

"They're ornery, aren't they?" she quipped. "Then again, I don't think I'd like someone leading me around with their hands around my throat."

That unusual cry was just one of the trademarks of an event fair organizers said might just be the most competitive this year.

The color pink was another.

In fact, most of those in the female-dominated field sported the color on everything from their blouses to their belt buckles.

"Every year, there's something girlie about the lamb show," said Travis Bishop, another spectator. "I mean, even one of the boys is wearing a pink shirt."

Feisty lambs also seemed to be a theme during the competition.

Like the one that broke away from the lineup just as judge Neil Bowman made his way past its handler.

But Caroline Corbett didn't panic.

Instead, she walked slowly across the ring to retrieve her partner -- only to have it refuse to get back in line -- or budge, for that matter -- for several moments.

Austin Holland, at times, had a battle on his hands, too.

And Danielle Wiesner had to lean into her lamb to keep it in the prime position.

Other handlers had bigger problems to deal with.

Like when one of the lambs decided to stand on its hind legs and put its front ones on her shoulders.

And as the little girl battled to get it "set back up," a father and son likened the show to their favorite television program.

"It's like wrestling, ain't it?" Jerry Daughtry said, leaning over to his 13-year-old, Matthew.

"That's the whole reason I wanted to come over here," the boy replied. "I really thought it was man vs. lamb."

Jerry smiled.

"Just some good old family fun, I reckon," he said. "But I gotta give it to those little girls. They've sure got some strength built up. You've got to, I reckon, to win a war like that."