Austin Penner, 8, tried to carry a trophy as nearly as big as he was out of the show ring at the Harvey County Fair on Monday, but his sheep was also in his grasp. That made it a little bit impossible for him to get both back to the family pen in the livestock building.
His father stepped in to help.
Once his hands were free, he got a high five.
"I think this is the best year we have ever had," Penner said.
One of his two prized sheep, John Cena, had just won an award for "Rate of Gain." That means in its class, this sheep had gained the most weight between first weigh ins on Friday and show time on Monday.
"You have to feed them, a lot," said Jason Penner, Austin's father. "It is a lot of feed."
Austin, however, with big ribbons and trophies in tow, wasn't quite done in the area of sheep just yet. A few minutes later he was in the ring, and again named a champion. This time it was for showmanship —an award given to the person showing the sheep, rather than the sheep.
Austin told the Kansan it is "a lot" of work to get ready for the fair. On the Penner farm the work begins in April, watching over a flock of 50 sheep and deciding which will head to fair to be shown by Austin and his brother. This year Austin had a pair of sheep to show — each of which helped him to a shelf-full of hardware.
He ended the day with Grand Champion Ewe Lamb, Rate of Gain, Champion Showmanship and a reserve champion as well.
"You know what this means? You need to write a thank you card for everyone of these," his mother Beth instructed.
He also needed to figure out a better formula for swine, where the family did not fare as well — though they did not raise the swine they showed during the fair.
The Penner family is a member of the Walton 4-H club.
Today at the fair
12:30 p.m. — Round robin contest practice
2:15 p.m. — Registration for 4-H Barnyard Olympics, Livestock Arena
2:30 p.m. — Barnyard Olympics
4 to 7 p.m. — All Other Exhibits Released
6:30 p.m. — Round Robin Showmanship Contest
7 p.m. — Watermelon Feed sponsored by Central National Bank
7:30 p.m. — 4-H Livestock and Champion 4-H Food Auction