XENIA — Now in his second year showing sheep at the Greene County Fair, Wyatt Percival has learned one thing from his experience: never give up.
The young man said as much after he completed a long evening at the homegrown sheep show and breeding show on Tuesday. He and other 4-H members showed both rams and ewes for approximately two hours, and many young exhibitors showed in multiple classes with little-to-no breaks.
By the end of the evening, Percival would take home the Grand Champion title for best overall breeding ram.
Though he had a partner to render assistance while in the arena, wrangling a ram took a lot of the perseverance Percival described — especially when the prize-winning ram was taller than he was. At one point, the sheep got scared, bucked and took off across the show pen, pulling Percival off of his feet. It pulled him a short ways before the adults caught it, but through the whole thing, Percival never let go of the lead.
The winning ram is a 6 month old Shropshire. Percival said he raised the lamb from the time it was born. He has experience raising lambs as his favorite sheep, Tubby, lived in the family’s house with them while it was still on a bottle.
Like many other families at the fair, raising sheep is a family business for the Percivals. Percival’s father and grandfather have raised sheep for years. The senior Percival said he’s proud of how much his grandson has grown from year to year.
Ryan Grimme, who judged the homegrown sheep show, said Greene County has a tremendous livestock industry, and that exhibitors he saw that day would have been solid competitors at the state level.
“You need a great lamb and a great showman. You can have a good lamb, but with a bad showman, you won’t go anywhere,” he said.
Grimme added that he felt putting on the county fair during this difficult year was important, especially for all the kids showing animals this weekend.
“Winning trophies is great, but it’s the friendships that last forever,” he said. “I take my hat off to the parents and organizers that had to make all these changes in 72 hours.”
Reach London Bishop at (937) 502-4532
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