XENIA — The homegrown lamb show highlights sheep who were raised on a farm. For some participants, that’s a family affair.
Sisters Ellie and Karlie Harlow show both pigs and sheep alongside their cousin, Luke Dean.
“I love it. It’s fun to be with the family,” said Dean, 17, of Jamestown/Bowersville. “It’s a family thing for us, we hangout and have fun.”
Ellie, 13, of Jamestown/Bowersville, has been involved with 4-H and showing animals for the last five years. Even before she was able to obtain an animal of her own, she was stepping into the ring to get her showmanship on with the help of Dean’s animals.
“I’m excited to be back at the fair,” Ellie said. “Anything can happen in the ring.”
But it’s not just in the ring that Ellie is discovering that “anything can happen,” as her pig unexpectedly passed away earlier this year. According to Ellie and Karlie’s mother, Wendy Harlow, that is what she hopes her children will take away from the 4-H experience.
“[4-H] teaches kids discipline, independence and how the world is fed,” Wendy said. “Sometimes things don’t go as planned but that’s life and it’s important for them to see that. They also build friendships, put in a ton of work and gain an appreciation for farmers … it makes them stronger.”
As far as the discipline and independence go, Dean said he and his family members are in the barns each morning, evening and night feeding and “working” their animals, in addition to washing and preparing them for shows. They herd their own sheep on foot on their own because “you’ve got to stay in shape somehow,” Dean said jokingly.
“I like all animals, but I like sheep the most,” he said. “It’s a family thing and it’s fun to carry out the tradition.”
Dean, whose father showed sheep, participated in four shows within the first two days of the fair — with 10-12 left as fair week carries on. He is not only showing sheep, but pigs and cattle as well.
“It’s a busy week, but it’s rewarding and all worth it,” he said, adding that he’s been involved with 4-H for the last eight years. He belongs to the Jamestown Junior Farmers club.
“I’d like to thank my cousin, aunt and uncle — the Deans — for letting me [help] with their animals out there,” added Ellie, of Clover Buds. “They’ve been an inspiration to me all my life.”
Contact Whitney Vickers at 937-502-4532.