Hughesville, Pa. -- Dozens of exhibitors turned out to the Lycoming County Fairgrounds Monday morning to show off their livestock at the Lycoming County Fair’s Open Sheep Show.
The Open Show consisted of mostly children and young adults showcasing their livestock. Families aplenty worked together swapping out sheep and cheering each other on throughout the morning as, for the first time in two years, exhibitors were able to try to earn their ribbons on the fairgrounds.
Among the first-year competitors was nine-year-old Sarah Harding. A soft-spoken Harding said “I was nervous, but I had fun,” following her first time competing at the Lycoming County Fair. Harding may have been reserved following the competition, yet she was anything but, showing her confidence and command in the arena on her way to a first place ribbon.
Harding was joined in competion by her brother, Timothy, and her parents, Bill and Shelly cheering her on from the gates.
“My in-laws started a club thirty years ago," said Bill Harding. "My wife and I formed our own club this year during the pandemic and we have 33 kids in it. We teach them about the lambs, the cows, we have a variety of different programs we offer, fishing, cooking, babysitting, at Back Country Roads 4H," he said about the family hobbies he and his children get to enjoy together.
Former State Farm Show category winner Justin Hook cleaned up throughout the late morning hours as it seemed his name was called every time he stepped into the arena with a lamb.
“I love just having fun with the people I show with, I missed being out with friends,” Hook said, reflecting on missing a year at the fair.
Hook, a 17-year-old from Lewisburg, took home the top prize of Champion Overall Market Lamb alongside his friend, and runner-up, 15-year-old Hailey Reed of Millville. The two walked away with double-digit numbers in ribbons and category wins in their return to the county fair.
Reed has been competing since she was nine and has traveled all the way to Louisville to compete. She attributes her interest and love for open shows to her friend Hook. “My favorite part is being able to clip them, and make them look to the best of their ability,” she said.
Hook was pleased with the quality and turnout at the open show saying “It was fun seeing everyone out there. The quality definitely improved.”
Judge Jason Corey echoed Hook’s thoughts on the day. “I thought the quality was really really high, probably as good as you’re going to find at most county fairs in the area. I thought the upper end was really really good,” he said.
Corey, a Corning, NY native was the judge for the show and awarded prize placement based on the quality of the breeding sheep and the market lambs, light, medium, and heavy.
“We didn’t have a chance to get out last year, very few places had them because of Covid. It was good to be in the ring again, and good to see that many kids participating.” Corey added.
The Lycoming County fair continues through this Saturday, July 24.