By Cathy Spaulding
Phoenix Staff Writer
Baa, baa, blue sheep, what’s that on your wool?
As Lexie Vinson prepared her Shropshire lamb for the Muskogee Regional Junior Livestock Show, the Vian fifth-grader spread a blue lather on the sheep’s wool.
“It helps make her wool white,” Lexie said as she massaged the sheep’s neck.
She worked hard to make her sheep, Maddox, as clean and white as possible Wednesday.
The Muskogee Regional Junior Livestock Show continues through Friday, with the premium sale set for Saturday.
Lexie is in her third year exhibiting at the regional show. Her sheep took breed champion at the Sequoyah County Livestock Show last week.
She said she was more nervous at the regional show “because there’s more people.”
That’s why she spent more than an hour at an outdoor wash area at the Muskogee Fairgrounds. She worked shampoo into the sheep’s legs, midsection, back, neck and behind the ears.
Lexie had just finished lathering up Maddox when another exhibitor remarked, “You missed a spot.”
“He doesn’t mind getting soaped up,” Lexie said. “But when it’s cold like this, he doesn’t like the water.”
Maddox shook the water off several times after Lexie hosed him down. Then Lexie spread the bluing shampoo on the wool.
Lexie said it takes about an hour or an hour and 30 minutes to get her 162-pound sheep clean and prepped. That includes shearing, clipping and blow-drying, she said.
Sheep exhibitors shared the wash area with cattle exhibitors.
Believe it or not, it might not take as long to prep a cow as it does a sheep, said Andrea Foster of Wagoner.
“The sheep’s wool holds water better, so it takes them longer to dry,” said Foster, who accompanied her nieces to the show. There also might be two or more people working on the cattle and using stronger blow dryers to speed things, she said.
One of the nieces, Lyndsey Burke of Wagoner, said it takes about 45 to 50 minutes to get her Hereford heifer ready for show. Lyndsey had a team helping her.
Carly Baker, who graduated in 2008, used a high-powered sprayer, with a shampoo attachment to lather up the heifer. One person combed on one side, another combed on the other.
“Don’t rub,” Baker called to the workers. “Comb forward.”
She explained that combing toward the head helps raise the cattle’s hair, making it stand out better for drying and for the judges.
In addition to the Hereford, Lyndsey is showing a shorthorn heifer and a steer. She said it does take longer to prep her 1,388-pound steer than it does her 1,000-pound heifer.
Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or email@example.com.
GRAND: Morgan Craig, Fort GIbson FFA.
RESERVE: Julie Isbell, Fort Gibson 4-H.
GRAND: Cheyenne Robison, Checotah.
RESERVE: Cee Jay Robison, Checotah, McIntosh 4-H.
Editor’s note: Results from the sheep competition at the Muskogee Regional Junior Livestock Show will appear in Friday’s Phoenix.