National Western’s Junior Market Lamb Show teaches hard work and friendship | MyWindsorNow.com

National Western’s Junior Market Lamb Show teaches hard work and friendship

Mary-Kate Newton
mnewton@greeleytribune.com

Emily and T.J. Rumsey of Greeley picked out their four lambs last February.

It was almost a year of preparation for the Junior Market Lamb Show competitors who showed their lambs Sunday at the National Western Stock Show. The year involved many hours of feeding, exercising and cleaning out their pens.

They don't have any friends or classmates at Union Preparatory Academy who raise lambs. In her six years of raising lambs, Emily, 15, said sleepovers involve explaining to her friends to bring boots and possibly helping take care of her lambs.

She said eventually her friends learn to love the lambs like she does.

Emily and T.J. are exclusively responsible for caring for their lambs, and therefore grew close with them.

T.J., 11, said his lambs Squirt and Prince are playful and hyper.

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Emily's lambs are laid back. While other lambs bleated, stomped and squirmed during the show, B.B. and Spud walked alongside Emily without protest.

Their nature is a result of what her mother, Tara Rumsey, said was Emily's patient nature in raising them.

"When she first got them, they were scared of her, as all little lambs are naturally," she said.

To gain their trust, Emily pulled up a chair into their pen and read aloud to them.

"Every day, for however long it took she would read, until they got used to her voice and came up to nuzzle her," Tara said.

Tara showed horses when she was younger, and her husband, Justin, raised cattle for show. So they encouraged their children to try raising lambs, which are more economical than horses or cattle, but teach them important lessons.

Their kids learn responsibility, business sense and the ability to love and care for animals.

After their lambs were shown Sunday, however, there was a much tougher lesson.

Though Emily and T.J. became close with their lambs, the ultimate goal for raising market lambs is to sell them for consumption.

B.B. was the family's first sheep to be shown Sunday, and he earned eighth place in his middleweight division. Emily said it feels good to win, but winning means interesting a buyer.

A few tears were shed saying goodbye to B.B.

"It's like losing a best friend," Tara said.

However, after goodbyes, the family knows next month comes finding and bonding with new lambs.

"I'm so proud of her," Tara said. "Not all kids her age have a passion, and she really does with these animals."

For more

For scheduled events with the National Western Stock Show, go to http://www.nationalwestern.com/schedule/

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