ROSEBURG, Ore. — Buddy, this year’s grand champion at the Douglas County Lamb Show, has been one of Ramsey Wilfong’s favorite lambs so far in the four years he’s been raising and showing them.
At 133 pounds, Buddy’s pretty big. He has just the right amount of fat on him, and he squares up nicely, Ramsey said. These are the kinds of traits judges look for when they’re choosing a champion lamb.
Ramsey, 13, of Roseburg has also competed against kids from other states in several jackpot competitions, taking home ribbons in competitions in Prineville and Medford. He’s used his winnings to build up his own flock of lambs.
“It’s fun,” Ramsey said. “I’ve always had a passion for animals.”
About 200 4-H and FFA students showed their lambs Saturday at the 2017 Douglas County Lamb Show at the Douglas County Fairgrounds. The students and their parents said responsibility, confidence and business skills are among the benefits students gain from raising, showing and selling their lambs.
Ramsey’s mother, Kelly Mead, is proud of the young businessman her son has become.
“It’s teaching him good morals and values,” she said. “It’s a lot of hard work.”
Ramsey works with his lambs morning and night. Until the lambs are fed, he doesn’t eat dinner, Mead said.
Ramsey got Buddy from Noble Ridge Ranch in Oakland. He said they’ve been very helpful. Kate Crawford, from Noble Ranch, has given him weekly one-on-one lessons.
“He wouldn’t be where he is without her help,” Mead said.
Madeline Gibbs, 15, has been coming to the lamb show for seven years. This year, she came with her lamb Noah, who took second in conformation and second in showmanship in his class.
Noah’s an anxious lamb, which made the showmanship competition a bit nerve-wracking, Madeline said.
“He’s not necessarily the most cooperative of lambs,” she said. “I knew he was going to fight back.”
Madeline said she likes the lamb show because she puts in several months of work and then sees that work pay off.
“I’ve had a lot of successes. It keeps me coming back,” she said.
Hanna Kruse, 13, of Scottsburg carefully scrubbed down her lamb Charlie before the showmanship competition. Like many of the students, she’s in it for the financial rewards.
“I do this so I can save up money,” she said.
She plans to purchase horses when she gets older, and she’d also like to be a foreign exchange student in Finland.
Brooklyn Wolfe, 14, of Camas Valley said when she first gets a lamb it can be pretty crazy.
“You have to work with it a lot to get it used to you,” she said.
Once her lamb Boone reached 100 pounds, she started running it, and making it hop a ditch 100 times a day so it would get really muscular. In the past, she’s had bad luck with lambs getting hoof rot, an abscess that makes it hard for the animal to walk. Other than a bit of stubbornness, Boone is a good lamb, she said. He took third in his conformation class.
Colby Olsen, 14, of Roseburg, was in the competition for the first time this year with Sugar.
“It was pretty fun,” he said. “It was a new experience.”
Sugar took third place in her class. It will be a little bit hard to give her up, but that won’t stop Colby from getting right back in the ring next year. He plans to buy something for himself, maybe a dirt bike if his parents allow it, and then put the rest of his earnings into next year’s lamb.
His father Dennis Olsen said it was surprisingly easy to get Colby to put in the work it took to raise Sugar.
“He’s motivated to do a good job,” he said.
Information from: The News-Review, http://www.nrtoday.com