University of Vermont

Cultivating Healthy Communities

Vermont 4-H Sheep Kids Win Big at the Big E

Members of the first-place 4-H sheep quiz bowl team, dressed for fun like sheep, pose with their ribbons and prizes at Eastern States Exposition, W. Springfield, Mass. The Vermont 4-H teammates include (left to right) Siri Swanson, Orwell; Claudia Cousineau, Shoreham; Colleen Bernier, Orwell; and Allison Henson, Hinesburg. (photo courtesy of UVM Extension 4-H)

Burlington--Eleven Vermont 4-H sheep club members were selected to represent the state at the regional 4-H sheep show at Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, Mass. This is the largest delegation sent by University of Vermont (UVM) Extension 4-H in recent years.

The 4-H'ers competed in several events, Sept. 27-29, including fitting and showmanship, conformation and lead line classes as well as quiz bowl, general knowledge and skill-a-thon and sheep blocking and fitting contests. In addition to delegates achieving high individual scores in many of these competitions, Vermont earned first place for its educational exhibit.

Claudia Cousineau, Shoreham, was named the Individual Shepherd Award for Vermont, which is presented to one exhibitor in each of the participating New England states who shows outstanding teamwork and dedication to his or her 4-H project. The recipient is chosen by secret ballot by the delegates.

Claudia also had the Best Fleeced Animal in overall competition and was a member of the winning quiz bowl team along with teammates Allison Henson, Hinesburg, and Colleen Bernier and Siri Swanson, both from Orwell. Gabrielle Ochs, also from Orwell, finished first in the Junior Skill-a-Thon contest, designed to evaluate the 4-H'ers' knowledge of sheep through a series of learning stations where they perform a given task.

In the fitting and showmanship classes, the judges evaluated the 4-H'ers both on how well they presented their animal in the show ring and the animal's overall appearance based on standards set for each specific breed of sheep. Individual placements, by class, included:

INTERMEDIATE SHOWMANSHIP--MEAT BREEDS: Allison Henson, Hinesburg (fifth); Willa Shakeshaft, Putnam Station, N.Y., (seventh)

INTERMEDIATE SHOWMANSHIP--WOOL BREEDS: Claudia Cousineau, Shoreham, (second); Lydia Smith, Charlotte (fourth); Raymond Bushey, Vergennes (ninth)

INTERMEDIATE SHOWMANSHIP--SLICK SHORN: Colleen Bernier, Orwell (second).

JUNIOR SHOWMANSHIP--WOOL BREEDS: Bekah Parent, Orwell (second); Gabrielle Ochs, Orwell (fourth); William Cousineau, Shoreham (fifth); Jarod Bushey, Vergennes (seventh)

JUNIOR SHOWMANSHIP--SLICK SHORN: Siri Swanson, Orwell (second) 

Some of the 4-H'ers also competed in lead line classes with Colleen Bernier, Orwell, taking second and Lydia Smith, Charlotte, third in the Intermediate Ladies Lead Line Division (14 and 15-year-olds). Siri Swanson, Orwell, came in second in the Junior Ladies Lead Line Division for 12 and 13-year-olds.

In conformation classes, which are arranged by breed and age of the ewe, ram or lamb, the animals are judged on how well they meet the standards for their specific meat or wool breed. Placements, by breed and class, were as follows:

BORDER LEICESTER: Lydia Smith, Charlotte, earned first-place ribbons for her yearling ram, champion ram and senior ewe lamb, the latter also being named Reserve Champion Ewe. William Cousineau, Shoreham, took first with his junior ewe lamb in one of the two groups of competitors in this class.

Claudia Cousineau, Shoreham, placed first in several classes including junior ram lamb (first place in two separate groups for her lambs), junior ewe lamb, yearling lamb, pair of lambs and best exhibitor's flock. Her animals also received several championships including Champion Ram and Reserve Champion Ram, Champion Bred and Owned Ram, Champion Ewe and Reserve Champion Ewe, Champion Bred and Owned Ewe and Reserve Champion Bred and Owned Ewe.

OXFORD: Colleen Bernier, Orwell, took first place for her yearling lamb and junior ewe lamb and had the Champion Ram and Champion Ewe for this breed.

ROMNEY: Orwell 4-H'er Bekah Parent won the yearling ram class. She also had the Champion Ram, Reserve Champion Ram, Champion Bred and Owned Ram and Reserve Champion Bred and Owned Ram. Gabrielle Ochs was equally successful in competition, taking firsts in the junior ram lamb, pair of lambs, best fleece and exhibitor's flock. She earned second for her junior ewe lamb and third for her yearling ewe.

SHETLAND: Willa Shakeshaft of Putnam Station, N.Y., who belongs to a Vermont 4-H club, finished second in both the junior ewe lamb group and pair of lambs. She won the Reserve Champion Bred and Owned Ewe Award for her junior ewe lamb.

TUNIS: Alison Henson, Hinesburg, came in second in the yearling ewe and intermediate ram lamb classes and won Reserve Champion Bred and Owned Ram. Winner of the junior ram lamb class was Willa Shakeshaft of Putnam Station, N.Y. who also received a second-place ribbon in the junior ewe and pair of lambs classes. In addition, she won Reserve Champion Bred and Owned Ewe. 

NATURAL COLORED BREEDS: Siri Swanson, Orwell, finished first in the yearling ram class. Willa Shakeshaft, Putnam Station, N.Y., and Jarod Bushey, Addison, took the top two spots in the junior ram class. Jarod also won the Reserve Champion Bred and Owned Ram award while Siri took Champion Ram and Willa, Reserve Champion Ram Group and Champion Bred and Owned Ram.

OTHER BREEDS WOOL: In the junior ram lamb class, Vermont had a one-two-three sweep of awards with Siri Swanson, Orwell, placing first; Jarod Bushey, Vergennes, second; and Raymond Bushey, Vergennes, third. Siri had the Champion Ram; Jarod, the Reserve Champion and Champion Bred and Owned Ram and Raymond, the Reserve Champion Bred and Owned Ram. In the junior ewe lamb class Raymond placed first and Siri, second.  For pair of lambs Siri took first, and Raymond, second.

MARKET LAMBS: Siri Swanson, Orwell, came in fourth.

For more information about the 4-H sheep program in Vermont, contact Wendy Sorrell, UVM Extension 4-H livestock educator, at or (802) 656-5418.