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Sheep-showing shines at Becker County Fair

4-H members young and old gathered at the Amanda Foltz Arena on Thursday to show off their sheep as part of the Becker County Fair on July 28.

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Taylor Schauer, right, and her sister, Erin, show sheep during the 4-H sheep show at the Amanda Foltz Arena, part of the Becker County Fair on July 28, 2022.
Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune
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DETROIT LAKES — Sheep and their handlers competed across 12 different classes during the 4-H sheep show at the Becker County Fair on Thursday.

The July 28 event featured a packed Amanda Foltz Arena at the county fairgrounds with all eyes focused on the sheep, lambs and goats with their handlers as they made their way around the show ring.

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Competitors parade their sheep around the show ring during the 4-H sheep show at the Amanda Foltz Arena, part of the Becker County Fair on July 28, 2022.
Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune
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Erin Schauer, winner of the overall market-ready class, presents a sheep during the 4-H sheep show at the Amanda Foltz Arena, part of the Becker County Fair on July 28, 2022.
Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune

"I definitely love the showing, that's why I show so many, because it's something I really, really enjoy doing," said Erin Schauer, winner of the overall market-ready sheep class.

Schauer said, at home, she puts each of her sheep on a stand for 10 minutes per day to grow muscle — and then washing, and brushing them out, every couple days can take up to 20 minutes per lamb.

"So, it takes quite a bit a time," she said.

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On show days, she said the handlers can spend all day clipping their animals and preparing them for the show ring the following morning.

Schauer also said showing animals is a lot more physical than people realize and a difficult skill to master.

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Whitney Vogel, a livestock judge, inspects a sheep during the 4-H sheep show at the Amanda Foltz Arena, part of the Becker County Fair on July 28, 2022.
Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune
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Whitney Vogel, a livestock judge, inspects a sheep during the 4-H sheep show at the Amanda Foltz Arena, part of the Becker County Fair on July 28, 2022.
Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune

"You have to be in a squat the whole time and you brace them, so their muscles tense up, so you're having the sheep push against you with all of their weight and have all of your weight too, and you have to stand there for however long the judge needs to judge them," she said.

Rondi Ulmer, a 4-H parent-volunteer, said her family is third-generation 4-H, and even though her kids have aged out of the program, she still loves being involved.

"From my experience, 4-H is a family organization," said Ulmer. "The life skills that they get through 4-H, they are getting up in front of a crowd, the speaking to a judge, the dressing up. I think anytime a kid has to work with an animal it teaches them patience and perseverance."

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Whitney Vogel, a livestock judge, decides between two sheep during the 4-H sheep show at the Amanda Foltz Arena, part of the Becker County Fair on July 28, 2022.
Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune
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Competitors line-up before heading into the show ring during the 4-H sheep show at the Amanda Foltz Arena, part of the Becker County Fair on July 28, 2022.
Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune
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Whitney Vogel, a livestock judge, announces a sheep-class winner and the reasoning behind her decision to event attendees at the 4-H sheep show at the Amanda Foltz Arena, part of the Becker County Fair on July 28, 2022.
Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune

It also teaches responsibility, because young 4-H members need to be responsible for their animal and they need to manage training time among all their other responsibilities, she added.

"It's just all the life skills wrapped into one package," she said. "And it's something the entire family can do together."

On Friday, horse training, judging and a performance by the Drill Team kicks-off at the Amanda Foltz Arena at 8 a.m., followed by the open class dairy goat show.

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On Saturday, the arena will feature local 4-H and Future Farmers of America members as they compete in a round-robin showmanship contest beginning at 8:30 a.m.

The 2022 4-H Lamb Lead winners are:

Lamb Lead

  • Grades 3-5: Champion - Eleanor Lage
  • Grades 6-8: Champion - Evelyn Lage

Breeding Ewe Lamb

  • Champion - Erin Schauer, Reserve - Benet Sonnenberg

Breeding Yearling Ewe

  • Champion - Erin Schauer, Reserve - Taylor Schauer

Overall Female

  • Champion - Erin Schauer, Yearling E, Reserve - Erin Schauer, Ewe Lamb

Market Lamb

  • Lightweight Lamb: Champion - Taylor Schauer, Reserve - Tristin Strom
  • Heavyweight Lamb: Champion - Erin Schauer, Reserve - Erin Schauer
  • Overall Market Lamb: Champion - Erin Schauer, Reserve - Erin Schauer

Sheep Showmanship

  • Beginner Champion - Janaya Anderson, Reserve - Benet Sonnenberg
  • Junior Champion - Alydia Mitchell, Reserve - Tristin Strom
  • Senior Champion - Erin Schauer, Reserve - Taylor Schauer
Multimedia News Lead Reporter
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