Braun Lebish is a veteran at the Washington Town & Country Fair.
This year was the seventh time Lebish, 17, had shown at the market lamb show. Up until Wednesday afternoon, he never brought home the big prize.
That changed when judge Phillip Martin awarded Lebish’s lamb Sherman the title of grand champion. The reserve champion was shown by Karson Eads.
Martin, from Meadville, has been judging animals for more than 40 years. He has a background in ag education. He praised the build of Lebish’s lamb, specifically its loins.
“There’s just a tremendous top on this lamb,” Martin said. “There’s tremendous length, too. He is long and straight.”
Lebish, a member of the Krakow 4-H, said he didn’t think he had the winning lamb when he showed up on Wednesday, but knew he had a good one.
“He wasn’t as crazy bulky as the stockier ones, but he was as tall as them,” he said. “His loin is a lot better than most — just wide and long.”
Lebish said he got his lamb from a farm in Kirksville. After doing this for six years, he went to work and had an idea of how to get Sherman ready for the Fair.
“From the start, it was just a shorter, stockier lamb,” he said. “I was able to put weight on it and fill him out like I wanted to without him going over weight. We just worked — I put in the time working with him.”
For months Lebish prepared his lamb with rigourous training. The lamb packed on the weight at 143, but it was good weight, Lebish said, after a lot of work.
“I worked as much as I could between work and everything,” he said. “I try to get at least 15 to 20 minutes of solid jumping or running twice a day.”
Lebish said he felt like his experience helped him out.
“My very first year, I probably had my best lamb, but I didn’t know what I was doing,” he said. “This year was probably my second best. I think showing, knowing how to show, helps a lot.”
Lebish is the son of Keith and Tanya Lebish of Leslie.
Eads, 12, won the title of reserve grand champion with his 117-pound lamb named Toto.
“I feel pretty good,” Eads said. “This is my second year showing lambs.”
Eads said he spent a lot of time with his lamb.
“We did a lot of walking, like 10 laps a day,” he said. “Then I jump him over a 2x4 with two T-posts at the end. We do that about 30 to 40 times a day. It’s every day.”
Eads is a member of the New Haven 4-H. He is the son of James and Devin Eads of Leslie.
There were 24 lambs in the contest split into two classes. Each lamb earned a blue ribbon. Martin said the lambs were some of the best he’s seen in his long judging career.
The sponsor of the lamb show was the Nelson H. Hall Foundation.
In showmanship, Katie Feth, 18, was the senior showmanship winner. She is a member of the Jefferiesburg 4-H.
Alina Cottrell, 8, won the junior showmanship honors. She is a member of the Krakow 4-H.
Both winners were presented belt buckles, sponsored by hth companies.