Showing livestock at the fair

Pure Nebraska
Published: Aug. 31, 2021 at 10:14 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - In many ways, the Nebraska State Fair is about the young exhibitors. We met a student from McCook who shows animals in 4H, FFA and even the Aksarben Stock Show.

Leah Spencer is showing sheep in this year’s Nebraska State Fair. She has also shown goats in the past. “I love the environment of the fair,” Spencer said. “I like seeing all of my friends again. Many of them are from farther away from me. This gives me an opportunity to hang out with them, and compete against them, too.”

Spencer says there are many things to keep in mind when it comes to showing livestock. “It’s always one person’s opinion,” Spencer said. “You have to remember that at the end of the day. You have good says and bad days when showing.” Spencer showed livestock during the state fair opening weekend at the 4-H show. She will be showing livestock the following weekend for FFA, and she is also going to show sheep at the Aksarben Stock Show coming up on September 24 through September 26.

“To be competitive with my sheep, you usually have to put in at least one hour a day or two with the animals,” Spencer said. “Usually I’m in the barn an hour and a half, either weighing them, or working their leg hair, or just standing there with them just to make sure they stay set. I’m really competitive in showmanship, and so I work on showmanship skills a lot.”

As a member of senior showmanship, she has some advice for younger participants. “Definitely watch your seniors. Learn from people who have done it before you, and just put the work in. If you put the work in, usually you see results.” Spencer says she’d like to be a veterinarian someday. Along with sheep, Spencer has shown pigs. Her twin brothers show hogs, and her sister is getting into showing sheep and goats. Spencer is also competing in the Lamb Challenge at Aksarben. In this event, students get a sheep to raise, and they must keep data about the sheep throughout it’s development. They are evaluated on their project at Aksarben, and there is scholarship money involved.

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