Sydney Stokes surely shows sheared sheep
By Tyler Whitttamore, Staff Writer
Showing and performing with animals is a tough task that requires hard work, perseverance and determination.
At the Franklin County 4-H Fair, those attributes can be found in every stall and stable. Those characteristics are especially important in the younger generations.
With members like Sydney Stokes, it is easy to see that 4-H in Franklin County will be in good hands for a long time.
Stokes is no stranger to showing and competing with animals, but this year is the first in which she has showed sheep, participating in the medium weight, market lamb division.
“When I was in first grade, my grandparents bought a dairy goat,” she said. “Then they recommended Boer Goats, but this is my first time showing sheep.”
Stokes entered a yearling doe and a market wether goat, as well as her yearling sheep, Stomper, who was born earlier this spring.
She has learned some hard lessons during her experiences at fair time. There are many contestants in each group, and with so many animals to look at, even small mistakes can make a difference to the judges. The overall appearance and form of the animal being shown also plays a huge part in the scoring.
“The sheep show is very competitive,” Sydney said. “(Stomper) didn’t like to walk with me at first, and we weren’t sure if he would walk for us here (at the fair).”
“It’s stiff competition for sure,” said her father, Joe, “She worked with him for half an hour in the morning and half an hour in the evening, every day, for weeks.”
Her tenacity and commitment has not wavered this year, however, and she is anxious to continue her work with her animals.
“I would really like to show chickens and rabbits,” Sydney said, “and I’d like to show a starter calf, but we don’t have the room.”
“We were already set up for the sheep because we have goats,” Joe added.
Sydney is also planning a friendly competition with her 8-year old brother, who is getting ready to show goats himself next year.
Fortunately for Sydney, she has someone in her family whom she has used for inspiration.
“My cousin KC-Rae (Stokes) got to show goats early on, and I really look up to her as a role model,” she said.
KC-Rae won first runner up at this year’s 4-H Fair Queen Pageant.
With this being her first year with sheep, Sydney has lots of room to grow and improve, but it is only a matter of time before she fills shelves and walls with ribbons and awards.
Her greatest advantage will come from the support of her family and community.
“From how far she’s come with a wild lamb to be able to walk it around in the ring in front of a crowd,” said Joe. “It makes me proud that she has showed so well.”
The other attractions of the 4-H Fair are not lost on this family, however, as they planned on enjoying their time there.
“We’re looking forward to riding the rides and eating the food,” Joe said.
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