Family defeats competition at Weld County Fair sheep show (video) |

Family defeats competition at Weld County Fair sheep show (video)

Caitie Holcomb, 9, takes a tumble as her sheep leaps away from the judge's probing hands on Thursday in the Event Center at Island Grove Regional Park in Greeley. "This could be an absolute train wreck," said Cory Holcomb, Caitie's father, jokingly before Caitie had a sheep-wreck in the market band breeding sheep show of the Weld County Fair.
Kelsey Brunner/ |

Weld County Fair

The 97th Weld County Fair will be held at Island Grove Regional Park, with events running daily throughout the week. Today is the Noble Energy Senior Day.

Today at the Fair:

All Day, Sandpile for Fun

8 a.m., Market Beef Show, north oval

9 a.m., Poultry showmanship, event center

10 a.m., Historic 1900’s $1.00 admission to Centennial Village

10 a.m., Special events honoring seniors, pavilion

1 p.m. (approx.), Breeding Beef Show, north oval

4 p.m., Weld County Swine Breeders Association Swine Show, exhibition building

5 p.m., Weld County Fair Open Roping, grand stand arena

More about the fair and a full schedule can be found a

“It’s pretty fun,” he said. “I usually want to.”

Bryleigh, 11, is only 22 months older than Caden, 10, but that does not mean the competition was any less intense at the Market and Breeding Sheep Show Thursday as part of the Weld County Fair at the Island Grove. In fact, the competition between the two could have been even greater if the two would have competed in the same showmanship division, but Bryleigh was named the grand master champion of the Junior Sheep Showmanship division and Caden was named reserve in the Pre Junior Showmanship division.

For the Schweer family, who live in Ault, there is more than just competition involved with their raising and selling of lambs. In fact, they are continuing a family tradition that stated about 45 years ago. Their father, Matt, and his two older sisters also competed in shows.

“You hope they love it,” Matt said. “They enjoy it. I can say it was in my blood, I love it, I enjoy it and I want them to have the same experiences I had. It teaches them great skills along the way too, and that’s a big part of it. It teaches them responsibility and care.”

And that’s what these shows are about. It’s more than just showing and selling the lambs; it’s more importantly a place where families can share the experience. The Frink sisters of Eaton, Kayla, Jenna and Lauren, all placed high Thursday, but the bond of the sisters beats the competition.

“We’ve all competed against each other from time-to-time, and even though only one of us wins, it still means a lot because we do it as a family and it feels good to see your family win,” said Lauren, who was named the Breeding grand champion and finished in the top two of the Intermediate Showmanship division.

Kayla shared Lauren’s sentiments about family, and for her the way her sisters’ place is important. When asked her favorite memory of the shows she’s been to, it wasn’t one of her successes that came to mind.

“(Jenna) won The National Western (Stock Show) in January,” Kayla said. “It’s just cool because we do it as a family, so if one us wins, it’s like all of us win.”

Jenna and Kayla both won the Colorado State Fair in 2013, taking champion and reserve, respectively. Thursday, Kayla took home the Market Lamb grand champion prize, and was the champion of the Crossbred and Suffolk divisions. Lauren and Jenna were named the top two finalists in the intermediate and senior showmanship divisions, respectively, but the grand champions will not be announced until Sunday.

The final grand champion prize given out Thursday was given to Cole Halley in the Ram Lamb division. The lamb Halley showed was raised on his family farm.

“For the ones we buy, I’m not as proud of as the ones that we raise because we raise them ourselves,” Halley said. “We don’t have those giant barns you see all the time. We have seven acres. I’m very proud when we win because we raised them, we lambed them. The ones we buy, we just kept them the same way. These ones we improve.”

The improvement of lambs comes from more than just raising them. By entering them in the shows, the judges automatically give feedback, which Bryleigh said was her favorite part about entering shows. But despite what competitive drive there is, helping and passing along the knowledge and love of the show is important to the families who get to share the shows and wins with one another every year. ❖

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