TURNER, Ore. – Parents, teachers and children of all ages focused on sheep during the 78th annual day-long Marion County Lamb and Wool Show held on Saturday, June 6, in Turner. Originally started for in 1937 so that local farmers could show their own sheep, the event morphed into a family friendly educational experience that focuses on youth. The 2015 show included about 40 Peewees (pre-4-H), 4-H and FFA kids who showed a combination of 70 registered and commercial ewes and feeder and market lambs.
Sheep grower Kraig Ohling, of Shedd, Oregon, considers the event a family tradition.
“I started as a judge in 1972,” Ohling said. “My children and grandchildren have shown their lambs here and today I’m watching my five-year old great grandson show a sheep he owns. It is a great experience for these young people. It teaches them responsibility, helps them learn how to deal with the public as well as helps them get ready to show at their county fairs.”
Andrea Leao, an Oregon State University 4-H Coordinator from Silverton, Oregon, was there watching her four daughters (age three, seven, nine and 12) show their family market lambs.
“It is particularly good for my nine-year old daughter Jackie, who is an autistic special needs student,” Andrea said. “Also a member of Silver Adventures Livestock 4-H Club, the program gives her a place where she can compete with peers when academics and sports are not as easy for her. She entered this year for the first time and she was really excited to have her lamb take a second place in Showmanship.”
Jula Galvin, the event coordinator who has been volunteering for the event since her children participated in 2003, was pleased with this years show and even more encouraged about the future of the program.
“We are seeing more young peewees coming up and their parents are becoming more involved,” Jula said. “This years judges were impressed with the quality of the lambs that were shown Saturday and said there a large number that were of the quality that could have gone to market that very day.
“Also encouraging was the best silent auction we’ve had in several years. Our operating budget from the city of Turner, is enough to buy ribbons and pay some prize money however, we rely on the auction money for student scholarships.”
Jula, who is already making plans for the 2016 show, is eager to add some herding demonstrations next year.
“We are going to even try to have the dog trials next year and will replace them with herding demonstrations instead,” Jula said. “I think it will be easier for people to see and it will give us a better way to explain what is taking place. We are even contemplating a duck herding demonstration just for fun.”
For more information on next year’s Marion County Lamb and Wool Show is available at www.marioncountylambandwoolshow.yolasite.com