Four young people from the Grenville 4H Sheep Club competed in the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair Junior Sheep Show this year, claiming some of the competition’s top prizes.
Thirteen-year-old Nolan Beavis, 16-year-old Kieran Beavis, 14-year-old Jennie Cathcart and 20-year-old Kirsten Bennett all competed in the competition’s two sections: showmanship and conformation. Nolan took home second place in the junior showmanship division and was named Reserve Champion Junior Showperson. Jennie took home first place for her Suffolk lamb and Kirsten received second place for her Dorset. In showmanship they were judged on how well they prepared the lamb and showed it in competition, while confirmation is based on the appearance and breeding of the lamb itself.
The leader of the Grenville 4H Sheep Club is Joyce Seguin of Seguin Farm in Oxford Mills. She comes from a long line of 4H Sheep Club leaders and has been running the club in North Grenville for over 18 years. She loves to see how well the 4H participants do at the shows. “They all did very well,” she says.
Part of the 4H Sheep Club activities is going to the Seguin Farm to care for the animals they will be showing in competition. It is a year- round process, as Nolan, Kieran, Jennie and Kirsten have also shown at sheep shows in Metcalfe, Merrickville and Spencerville this year. Nolan, Kieran and Jenny come to Joyce’s farm on a regular basis to help out with chores and care for the sheep, while Kirsten has her own sheep to look after at home. Joyce’s prize-winning lambs are all fed products from Rooney Feeds, a company she is very loyal to.
Preparing the sheep to show is an intense process. Nolan says that, in order to get them ready for the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, they had to wash them twice, clip them and wrap them in a blanket to keep them from getting dirty. They also have to train them, since they do not use a halter or lead during the show.
“They had to have them well trained so we didn’t have sheep running all over downtown Toronto,” says Joyce.
All of the kids hope to be able to show sheep in competition again next year. Jennie’s mother, Kelly Durant, is a big proponent of the 4H program. “It is so valuable and a great opportunity for our kids to touch rural life,” she says.