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Sibley ram named state fair’s champion

By Staff | Aug 10, 2013

Jenny Travaille, of Sibley, offers a handful of grain to Sonny Jr., a 4-year-old Hampshire ram that won the Iowa State fair's Big Ram contest at 392.5 pounds. The ram will be on display at the sheep building at the fair until Sunday.

DES MOINES – An Osceola County registered sheep breeder entered the Big Ram contest for the first time at the Iowa State Fair, and his big 4-year-old Hampshire was settled into the champion’s pen.

Robert Travaille’s 392.5-pound ram, Sonny Jr., topped the field of 10 competitors from three states, the largest field of contesting big rams in the fair’s history.

One ram had actually been weighed in at 405 pounds, a 9-year-old ccrossbred belonging to Kelly Foertsch, of Renwick. Hiowever, according to Megan Grandgeorge, of the fair’s marketing office, that animal was disqualified for health reasons.

Jenny Travaille, said the family had an even larger ram, about 20 pounds heavier, than Sonny Jr., “but he’s at home doing what’s needed for the ewes.”

Travaille said the winning Hampshire lost about 10 pounds in the four-hour rise the stet fair. It is likely at its peak weight and half-way through its likely lifespan, she said.

“As they get older,” Travaille said, “they start getting lighter.”

Travaille said her family operation breeds sheep for size and meat and use no growth hormones.

“He gets about two pounds of grain a day,” she said, “and hay is available. That’s all he eats.”

The Travailles also have registered Columbia sheep. The family business’ website says they breed for shows and the farm.

Other place winners are:

2nd: Joe Andera, Alta Vista, 385.5 pounds, a 5-year-old Lincoln.

3rd: Susan Hammen, Clarion, 380.5 pounds.

4th: Jason Seelow, State Center, 356 pounds.

5th: Tim Lobdell, Freeport, Ill., 290 pounds.

6th: Micki Williams, Freeport, Ill., 260 pounds.

7th: Isaiah Bauck, New York Mills, Minn., 219.5 pounds.

8th: Duane Bauck, New York Mills, Minn., 216 pounds.

9th: Rowland Bauck, New York Mills, Minn., 210 pounds.

Travaille’s ram, as well as the Big Boar and Super Bull, will be on display at the Iowa State Fair in the sheep, swine and cattle barns at the Iowa State Fairgrounds through Sunday.

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