In his final year of 4-H, Cody Barilla pocketed two grand champion ribbons at Thursday’s Pratt County Fair sheep show and, for good measure, added a third purple rosette for the county’s first-ever meat goat show.


In his final year of 4-H, Cody Barilla pocketed two grand champion ribbons at Thursday’s Pratt County Fair sheep show and, for good measure, added a third purple rosette for the county’s first-ever meat goat show.

No stranger to the winner’s circle, Barilla was a double winner at last year’s fair and also in a previous year. He won the Kansas State Fair market lamb show in 2006 and is a frequent competitor at other state and national shows.

In the grand championship class, Judge Zach McCracken, Syracuse, said there were four lambs that were pretty evenly matched, but one — Barilla’s Suffolk — took the muscling to the next level. Muscle is always the priority with market animals, he explained; but in the show ring he also looks for structural correctness and balance.

Picking the top senior showman was a tough job, McCracken said. Barilla edged out Chyenne Orler because of his quickness in responding to the judge’s presence.

Junior division exhibitors (age 10 and under) led more than half of the 42 4-H sheep on Thursday, a good indicator for a strong show in years to come.

McCracken called for a round of applause for 9-year-old Taylor Stratford, sporting a bright pink cast on a broken arm, for “sticking with it” while showing a lamb with a “bad attitude.” In spite of its misbehavior, McCracken liked the crossbred lamb for reserve champion.

“He’s usually the nice one,” Stratford said. “I think he was worried from all the people. He’s kind of shy.”

The daughter of Steve and Monica Stratford, Taylor is already a show ring veteran, making her third appearance in the 4-H sheep show, after showing open class bucket calves before she was seven. She will sell her lambs in Saturday’s premium auction, but admitted, “it’s really hard to sell your lambs right when you get used to them.”

Brady McComb was the top junior division showman, always moving out of the way so he could see the lamb, McCracken said.

McComb walks his lamb every night. It’s hard work, he said — “the lamb freezes up and I have to drag it.” In the show ring, he tried to let the lamb relax a little when the judge wasn’t looking right at it.

Nine meat goats paraded before the judge — a good start, McCracken said, noting that in his home county the project started with just a few and has grown to more than 20. Barilla won the championship and Payje Orler the reserve.

Winning the goat showmanship awards were Payje Orler, Makala Orler and Samantha McGuire.

Sheep Show Champions

Breed champions
Hampshire     Jessica DeWeese
Reserve    Trevor Hassler
Suffolk    Cody Barilla
Reserve    Jessica DeWeese
Other Breeds    Cody Barilla
Reserv    Makala Orler
Crossbreed    Taylor Stratford
Reserve    Brady McComb

Showmanship
Senior    Cody Barilla
Reserve    Chyenne Orler
Intermediate    Makala Orler
Reserve    Taylor DeWeese
Junior    Brady McComb
Reserve    Tori Hassler