Carcass show adds a new dimension to the sheep show

Carcass show adds a new dimension to the sheep show

Image Credit: Caleb Schmidt

The Holmes County 4-H Sheep Committee and the many youth who have dedicated themselves to raising sheep for the Holmes County Fair will be rewarded in a new way this year with the advent of the sheep carcass show. The committee hopes this addition will entice more kids to raise sheep for the fair.

On July 12 the Holmes County 4-H Sheep Committee hosted a skill-a-thon practice session for 4-H youth hoping to raise sheep to show at the fair.

The idea behind the skill-a-thon was to help youngsters identify portions of showing a sheep or lamb or the animal itself that might get tested during their venture into raising an animal. Two days later they experienced the real McCoy.

From breeds of animals, feeds, medication labels, cuts of meat and more, if it pertained to sheep, it was touched upon.

Showing sheep is nothing new for the Holmes County Junior Livestock Show. 4-Hers who raise them have practiced hard at working with their animal and perfecting the art of showmanship with their sheep in front of a judge for many years.

What is new comes in the aftermath of fair week.

While the Holmes County Fair carcass show has featured both steer and hogs, never has it included sheep. That all changes this year when the top placers showing market lambs will have the opportunity to compete in the lamb carcass show at Sugar Valley Meats near Sugarcreek the Thursday following the fair.

“This is brand new, and our committee has been working hard to advance the sheep program a little bit each year to bring in new opportunities for the youth and to bring in some additional excitement into enticing kids to consider raising sheep as a livestock animal,” Holmes County 4-H Sheep Committee member Nate Klink said.

Seven years ago, that list included creating a lamb give-away, in which the club drew a winner who would receive a young lamb to raise as a fair project. Klink said that addition was a big one, helping to create more fervor for youngsters to join the sheep club.

He said the carcass show should add an additional element of excitement.

“The carcass show will give each participant something else to experience as far as the end product,” Klink said. “That’s the meat, which is the end product and the most important aspect of raising a market sheep.”

He said having a professional explain to them the various cuts, walking them through the best management practices in properly raising a healthy sheep and developing a game plan to nurture their animal so it is healthy and marketable is something the kids can learn from and grow from.

“It’s important for them to understand the entire process from start to finish, and we are excited to add that to our show,” Klink said.

Sheep committee member Lisa Hendricks said the event will be exactly like the carcass shows done for the steer and hogs.

“They’ll invite the top-10 placers and go through the exact same process as they do with the other animals, where they talk about the reasons why a particular animal was picked as grand champion,” Hendricks said.

Klink said a teen who finished far back in the top 10 but qualifies for the carcass show could experience the thrill of turning around and becoming a grand or reserve champion at the carcass show.

He said teaching kids that what is on the inside of an animal is just as important as it looks on the outside is something they promote heavily. The carcass show will go a long way in reiterating that point.

Another addition to the show is the ushering in of a new class. For the first time, the sheep show will consist of a Holmes County Born and Raised Class.

Klink said more than half of the sheep class participants overall have qualified for the Holmes County Born and Raised Lambs category. He said everyone involved is excited to see so many youngsters staying close to home in opting to raise a market lamb.

He said kids who haven’t experienced the joy and challenges of raising a lamb, whether it is a breeding or market lamb, will find the idea enjoyable.

Klink said they have worked with Sugar Valley Meats to create lamb beef sticks to hand out at the fair this year to promote the club even further.

“Our kids are spending a lot of time and money on their lambs, and they deserve to be compensated for their effort,” Klink said.

“There’s a lot of great meat people can make out of a market lamb,” Hendricks said. “Lamb jerky is really good. There are a lot of good parts that people can enjoy and a lot of different ways people can prepare it including smoking it.”

The sheep showmanship, sheep breeding and market lamb judging for this year’s fair will take place Tuesday, Aug. 9 at 2 p.m. in the main arena. The market lamb will be part of the junior fair livestock auction the evening of Friday, Aug. 12.