Lambs take center stage at fair
By Steve Herring
Published in News on September 29, 2012 11:58 PM
John Grice holds his lamb in position during the judging portion of the Open Junior Lamb Show late Saturday morning.
DUDLEY -- Some tried to avoid the steady drizzle by covering up in towels. Some sought shelter under the tents, others wore raincoats. One refused to stand out in the rain and had to be escorted out.
But all in all the lambs in Saturday's Open Junior Market Lamb Show at the Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair took the rain in stride -- as did their handlers
The popular competition attracted 65 children from across the eastern part of the state who were competing for a chance to show in the State Fair.
Maryanna Bennett of Rocky Mount, who was waiting to show in the senior division, was among those hugging the fence around the show arena.
"I just watch him (judge) and see who he is looking at," she said. "I am watching both, the kids and the judge. I just look and see who is winning and their style for the day, and just see if there is anyway I can change my style to theirs.
"I think how you present the animal and how you keep him ready at all times for the judge is important. I think eye contact has a lot to do with it and your mannerisms and facial expressions."
It is important to showcase the animal's strong points, while trying to minimize the weaker ones, said Miss Bennett who has been showing lambs for eight years -- a career that includes two top 10 finishes in the international competition in Louisville, Ky.
"I could show for two more years, but since I am a senior in high school I won't do it any more after this year," she said. "I guess it is kind of bittersweet because this is what I have always done."
For many it was a family affair including for brothers Drew, 12, and John Grice, 10, children of Drew and Lissa Grice of Goldsboro.
"Yesterday I showed my boar goat and it got sixth place in the showmanship, but it got first place in confirmation," Drew said. "We bottle-fed some Barbados ones in our backyard that started us off. My grandpa, he has a big pasture and he has something like 300 Barbados sheep.
"We got them the day they were born. I made their solution for like two months, four times a day. That was last year. I got into boar goats because my cousin showed a boar goat one year at the State Fair. I thought that it was pretty cool so my aunt got me a boar goat. I am showing the boar goat this year at the State Fair."
Working with the animals is a lot of work, but fun, he said.
"If you are going into it because you think it is easy, it is not that easy," he said.
Little brothers can be a pain, Drew said.
However, John won grand champion last year at the State Fair.
" My mom asked me if I wanted to show sheep and I said yes," John said.
Asked if there was some brotherly competition, "Oh, yeah," they said in unison.
John said he was the better of the two.
"No you are not," Drew said.