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Jake Stonebarger, left, and Brett Isbell get an animal ready to show Thursday at the Muskogee Fairgrounds.

The Muskogee County Livestock Show and Muskogee Regional Livestock Show are more than good times to show animals.

They also are good times to make friends, as some Fort Gibson exhibitors would agree.

Fort Gibson was among some 11 Muskogee County school districts sending exhibitors to the county show last week. This week’s regional show will draw exhibitors from eight counties: Muskogee, Adair, Cherokee, Haskell, McIntosh, Okmulgee, Sequoyah and Wagoner.

Take Fort Gibson FFA president Brett Isbell, for example. He was one of 50 Fort Gibson students at the county show last week.

While Isbell’s heifer waited to be shown last Thursday, she got a thorough primping from Oktaha High School sophomore Jake Stonebarger.

“He’s just like one of my good friends,” Isbell said, adding that he met Stonebarger at area livestock shows.

“We’ve been showing for years now,” Stonebarger said as he sprayed Final Mist on the heifer’s black coat and fluffed the hair with a fine-toothed metal comb. He said the Final Mist makes the hair shiney.

Isbell said he’s been showing cattle for about seven years.

Outside the arena, Nathan Lane and Blake King of Fort Gibson spent their free time testing their roping skills with buddies Kaden Martin of Boynton and Lukas Etchison of Muskogee.

“We see each other at other livestock shows,” Lukas said. “We rope, play football, eat.”

Kaden’s father, Darren Martin, whose daughter shows with Fort Gibson, recalls making friends from other schools when he went to livestock shows as a kid.

“The parents keep them in it, and they just grow up together,” he said.

About 50 Fort Gibson students are expected to show at the Muskogee Regional Stock Show, which runs through Saturday.

Reach Cathy Spaulding at 684-2928 or cspaulding @muskogeephoenix.com.

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