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County fair season opens

By Staff | Jul 15, 2011

Kim Dornbier, 14, of the Concord Challengers, washes her sheep with purple show soap before the sheep show Friday morning at the Wright County Fair. Dornbier said the soap will make the sheep look brighter and cleaner when they’re in the show ring.

EAGLE GROVE – The bleeting of sheep mingled with the twitter of birds early Friday morning at the Wright County Fair.

The fair ran Wednesday through Monday.

Around 7:30 a.m., on Friday, 4-H members hosed down their projects at a wash rack in preparation for the show ring.

“Yeah, we’re done,” said Jackson Kampen, 14, of the Thor Vikings, as he finished washing a yearling ewe for a friend, Nichole Licht.

“They get pretty dirty sleeping in their pen,” Kampen said, as he explained why it was important to wash the livestock before the show.

Kim Dornbier, 14, of the Concord Challengers, squeezed purple soap into her hand from a bottle and vigorously rubbed it across the body of her Hampshire wether, a male sheep.

“It’s just some show shampoo that we’ve got,” Dornbier said. “It makes them brighter and cleaner during the show.”

In the sheep barn, people were busy blow drying, clipping and bushing their animals to make them look their best for the judge.

Stephanie Herrington, 17, of the Troy Trojans, stood by watching while a family friend Brandon Erickson clipped the legs of her Suffolk-Hampshire cross-bred that stood on an elevated stand.

Herrington has been showing sheep since she was in fifth or sixth grade she said.

What’s the secret to showing sheep?

“Don’t let them trample you,” Herrington said with a laugh. “You’ve got to make sure you can handle them.”

She said she was confident she’s worked enough with her sheep that they’ll be well-behaved in front of the judge. As far as how well she’ll do, that’s anybody’s guess.

“They’re supposed to be pretty good,” Herrington said of her sheep. “So we’ll see I guess.”

Ronald Pullin, of Waterloo, was the judge for the sheep show in Wright County this year.

Every judge is a little bit different in what they look for in animal, said Dornbier.

If showmanship was any indication, Pullin was looking for animals that were well-behaved.

He named Raechel Spangler champion showman for the intermediate age group noting how well her lamb acts.

“It doesn’t dance around, and it’s showing nicely today,” Pullin told the crowd.

There was a good number of supporters watching the young showmen and women in the ring.

Verle and Pam Tate from Lake Cornelia are camping at the fair this year and plan on watching their children show their calves on Sunday. However, they’re supportive of all the exhibitors.

“It’s just a lot of fun to watch other kids with their animals whether their sheep or hogs,” said Verle Tate.

Other activities at the fairgrounds include chain- saw artist demonstrations, carnival rides and games, 4-H exhibit building and open arts and crafts.

Contact Lindsey Mutchler at (515) 573-2141 or lindsey@messengernews.net

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