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Following a family tradition

By Staff | Aug 17, 2014

GIANNA GURLEY, of Stanhope, a member of the Cass Red Cardinals 4-H Club from Hamilton County, works with one of the five black-face market lambs she brought to the Iowa State Fair.

DES MOINES – Tradition is outstanding at the Iowa State Fair.

Each year, families embark onto Iowa’s state fairgrounds following in the footsteps of generations before them – some competing and others visiting the fair.

Gianna Gourley, 15, of Stanhope competed in the sheep show on Monday adding to the many years the Gourley family has shown livestock in Des Moines.

Gourley, a member of the Cass Red Cardinals 4-H Club in Webster County, and the daughter of George and Kathy Gourley, entered five lambs in the black face market lamb class.

The 2014 Iowa State Fair proved to be a good one for Gourley as she earned a blue ribbon in the showmanship contest and first place in class three of the lightweight division; second place in class seven in the light medium division; fifth place in class eight light medium division and a blue ribbon.

Gianna Gourley’s lambs are between 6 and 7 months old. She said she has been working with them twice a day since early spring.

“I try to work with them in the morning and again at night by walking them, practicing setting them up and taming them,” said Gourley.

She said it’s fun to be with family and friends at the Iowa State Fair, while knowing she is carrying on a long family tradition of showing at the fair that includes her sisters, father, uncles and cousins.

“I entered at the Iowa State Fair to be with family and friends and hopefully to win,” said Gourley. “But I also call it a tradition.”

Her father, George Gurley, said, “She is the last one in our family to be showing.

“Her older two sisters are done. My brothers and I started showing down here when we were 10 years old.”

In addition to tradition, Gianna Gurley said she enjoys showing at the county level.

“It’s great to see how everyone places and shows and it’s fun to compete against each other,” she said.

During the Hamilton County Fair, Gourley said she earned champion commercial ewe and reserve champion light weight honors.

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