Tuesday, September 04, 2007

sheep and fairs

If you're the one of those people who likes to raise livestock, take them to fairs and haul them around the show ring for a little blue ribbon and five minutes of glory, then you will understand this little ramble. It is tough to explain why people do this when they could be relaxing at home- especially when the temperature is over the century mark.

My fair friends have been described as a "little sheep family that travels from fair to fair." That's pretty accurate. Sometimes there are more of us at a fair sometimes less. It's kind of like a PTA meeting. If you don't show up you're sure to get talked about. We all met in Lancaster at the Antelope Valley Fair for one of the last shows of the season over Labor Day weekend. You never know if it is your last fair for the year or not because someone will always try to talk you into going to one more. The AV fair is one of the newest fairgrounds in the state, built about four years ago. The fair decided they needed to have an open sheep show on the last weekend of the fair and sure enough, some of us showed up, even though temperatures were hovering around the 110 degree mark. We quickly discovered why we would come back to this fair- an air conditioned show barn. We didn't want to leave when it was over.

This was a first for us in California. Not that we need air conditioning at Del Mar or Ventura fairs, but it sure would have been nice when we were hauling the sheep into the ring at state fair.

Sheep shows are now more of an all-day affair. You can't really just show your own sheep and then sit in the stands and watch the rest of the show. That's because even though there is a group of us exhibitors, there are way more sheep than people in the barn. And, the number one rule of the barn is: if you want help showing your sheep- an you will unless you've convinced your children to come with you- you need to help other people. That makes for a long day if there are 7 or 8 breeds showing that day and you are helping with all of them. I had the challenge this summer of finding someone to show my sheep at the Puyallup Fair since I couldn't be there. That is where going to previous shows really helps- you know the regulars and don't feel too bad about asking, knowing you will repay them somewhere down the road. Thanks Jake! I heard you and your crew of helpers did a great job- that sheep never won when I was holding it all summer!!

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