Savannah Durheim won Grand Champion Pen of 2 Lambs during the Delaware County Junior Fair’s Market Lamb Show held Sunday.
The pen of 2 competition pairs two market lambs that have been raised together, and they are judged as a flock based on their matching quality of builds rather than independently. Durheim, who is a freshman at Big Walnut High School and a member of the Set 4 Success 4-H club, showed lambs weighing 136 and 140 pounds.
“It feels amazing. I was so happy,” Durheim said of showing the grand champions. “When I shook the judge’s hand, I was very proud of myself, and I felt so relieved that I had something that could win and something that really stood out to the judge.”
Durheim said she would be remiss if she didn’t thank her show partner, Camden Stephens, who was in the ring with her to showcase the lambs.
“He helped me so much, and I thanked him a million times,” she said of her partner. “He was one of the reasons I won that show. He got that lamb looking amazing.”
Raising multiple lambs that will ultimately be evaluated against each other is no easy task, according to Durheim, particularly with her raising both lambs from birth.
“It was a lot more difficult for me because I had to make sure they survived long enough to get to the fair, while also raising two of them to work and live in the same conditions, be close in weight, and things like that,” she stated.
Durheim said there’s a lot of “tedious” and time-consuming work and practice that goes into showing grand champion lambs.
“Since the beginning of them being born, these two were the struggle lambs,” Durheim said of her champions. “The youngest and the only ones out of four that survived. They were a lot of work to get to be trusting, to trust me as a showman, and then getting them to brace, getting them to set up, not to move, and look good. Also, getting them to be close in weight is also difficult with feeding and how much they eat.”
All the work has paid off for Durheim, however, which has given her additional confidence to continue her show career in the years to come.
“It makes it worth it even if I don’t win at the end of the day, but winning and getting grand champion for the pen of 2 made it so much more worth it,” she said. “It makes me want to keep going with market sheep and keep going on in my career.”
She added, “What I enjoy the most about showing is the process that comes before it. I enjoy getting to see the young lambs, getting to raise them and see them grow from little 6 pounds babies to 136 and 140 pound lambs that I know can be successful.”
While earning her first grand champion award at the Delaware County Junior Fair may have been a rewarding experience, Durheim is already setting her sights on trying to do it all over again next year.
“We already got the ewes (artificially inseminated). We have them all ready,” she said. “We’re starting the process over in January, and we’ll come back to the fair hopefully to win another grand (champion).”
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.