As she struggled to get her braying boy goat under control, Raegan Lawson, 10, reflected on why she doesn’t name the animals she shows.
“I feel like if I name them, I’ll get attached,” said Lawson, a student at Clark Elementary School.
Lawson was on her way to the arena at the Johnson County fairgrounds in Franklin on Monday morning for a sheep show. Eventually, at the end of the fair, she’ll sell her animals. Sometimes it can be hard to say goodbye to an animal she’s raised.
And sometimes not.
Her sheep was not in the mood for being led around, and he loudly brayed and strained hard against his rope lead, making Lawson struggle to hold onto him.
Lawson was about to give her unnamed sheep a bath before heading into the show. Lawson and her mom, Jessica, strained and pulled their crossbred sheep to the side of the barn where they scrubbed him with Dawn dish soap and hosed him down so he was ready for the judges.
Lawson is in her second year of showing animals through 4-H at the fair. As an animal lover, it’s a great way to spend her summer, she said.
“I think it’s fun and it gives you time to hang out with animals,” she said.
But showing animals is also a lot of labor and commitment, a good lesson for 4-H’ers, Jessica Lawson said.
“I think they learn they have to work hard,” Jessica Lawson said. “You can’t just walk in here and wing it.”
Some of the hardest work is learning to control the animals so they stay put for the judges. Raegan weighs barely 70 pounds, so wresting with an animal that weighs more than 200 pounds is a good workout — and it’s a lesson in showing animals safely, Jessica Lawson said.