University of Vermont

Cultivating Healthy Communities

Vermont Has Strong Showing at Regional 4-H Sheep Show

Group Photo of Participating 4-H'ers
Vermont 4-H'ers demonstrate the fighting spirit that earned them multiple awards at the Eastern States 4-H Sheep Show, Sept. 28-30 in West Springfield, Mass. Front row: Raymond Bushey , Vergennes; Middle row (left to right): Bekah Parent, Orwell; Claudia Cousineau, Shoreham; Willa Shakeshaft, Putnam Station, N.Y.; Siri Swanson, Orwell; Colleen Bernier; Orwell. Back row: Jarrod Ashley, Whiting; Allison Henson, Hinesburg. (photo courtesy of Kathleen Parent)

Burlington--Vermont 4-H club members had a strong presence at Eastern States Exposition 4-H sheep events, Sept. 28-30, with several individuals taking first place in their respective classes.

The University of Vermont (UVM) Extension 4-H delegation competed against 4-H'ers from four other New England states at the "Big E" in West Springfield, Mass. Connecticut did not send any exhibitors to this year's regional sheep show.

In quiz bowl competition the team placed third. Members included Jarrod Ashley, Whiting; Claudia Cousineau, Shoreham; Allison Henson, Hinesburg; and Bekah Parent, Orwell. Jarrod and Allison placed first in Senior Blocking and Fitting, a timed competition in which two-person teams are given a sheep at random and have an hour to clip and groom the animal for judging.

In the fitting and showmanship classes, arranged according to the exhibitor's age, the 4-H'ers were evaluated on their pose and handling of their animal along with the animal's overall appearance based on criteria set for that particular breed of sheep.

Claudia Cousineau, Shoreham, was named Champion Junior Showman. She also won first place in the Junior Fitting and Showmanship division (ages 12 and 13) for wool breeds. Bekah Parent, Orwell, took fifth; Siri Swanson, also from Orwell, came in sixth and Raymond Bushey, Vergennes, was ninth in this division.

Willa Shakeshaft of Putnam Station, N.Y. came in sixth in Junior Fitting and Showmanship for meat breeds. Willa is a member of the Critter Creek 4-H Club in Addison, Vermont.

In the Intermediate Fitting and Showmanship division for meat breeds, open to youths ages 14 and 15, Allison Henson of Hinesburg came in third. In the senior division (ages 16 to 18) Jarrod Ashley of Whiting was second.

The 4-H'ers also competed in conformation classes in which the animals are judged on how well they conform to the standards for their specific meat or wool breed. Classes are organized by breed and age of the animal.

For the Border Leicester breed, Claudia Cousineau, Shoreham, bested her competition in several classes, earning first-place ribbons for her yearling ram, yearling ewe and junior ewe lamb. Her yearling ram was named both Reserve Champion Ram and Reserve Champion Bred and Owned Ram. Her yearling ewe was the Reserve Champion Ewe and the Champion Bred and Owned Ewe. In addition, Claudia was awarded top honors in the exhibitor's flock class.

Jarrod Ashley competed in the Lincoln breed conformation classes with his market lamb, coming in second in the market lamb class and being named Reserve Champion Market Lamb for the breed.

The Whiting 4-H'er also competed in the Natural Colored Breeds division, winning both the Champion Ewe and Champion Bred and Owned Ewe competitions with his sheep that took first in the junior ewe lamb class. Siri Swanson of Orwell won the junior ram lamb class with her entry also taking the Champion Ram award. In the Other Breeds Meat division, Raymond Bushey of Vergennes came in third.

In Oxford breed conformation competitions, Colleen Bernier, Orwell, won the junior ram lamb class and her animal was named Champion Ram.

Orwell 4-H'ers Bekah Parent and Siri Swanson both competed with their Romney sheep. In the junior ram lamb class, Siri was first and Bekah, second. Siri also won Reserve Champion Ram and came in first in best fleece.

Bekah earned several top honors including Champion Ewe, Champion Ram and Champion Bred and Owned Ram and firsts in pair of lambs and junior ewe lamb classes.

Two Vermont 4-H club members competed in the Tunis breed division.

Willa Shakeshaft of Putnam Station, N.Y., won first place in the aged ewe class. Allison Henson, Hinesburg, came away with three championship awards for Champion Ram Champion, Ewe Reserve Champion, and Champion Bred and Owned Ewe. She also took first place in the junior ram lamb, intermediate ewe lamb and pair of lambs classes and a second in the junior ewe lamb class. Her flock was named best flock for the breed.

In addition to the eight-member Vermont 4-H sheep delegation, another Vermont youth who belongs to a New Hampshire 4-H club, competed as part of that state's official delegation. Jessie Hooker of Maidstone showed Tunis sheep, taking first place in the junior ewe lamb and yearling ewe conformation classes. The latter animal was named Champion Ewe for this breed. In addition, Jessie placed fourth in fitting and showmanship classes for meat breeds.

Contact Wendy Sorrell, UVM Extension 4-H livestock educator, at for more information about the 4-H sheep program.