Competing in the Shepherd's Lead contest at the state fair for the first time, turned out to be just the kind of challenge that Madeline Drake, Preston, enjoys.
When Madeline Drake and her sheep Dawn competed in Shepherd’s Lead at the Kansas State Fair on September 8, they were both dressed in purple. They impressed the judges so much, they added more purple to their ensembles in the form of a purple Grand Champion ribbon from the Fair.
In this competition, presenters are required to wear outfits made of wool or have wool content. The garment doesn’t have to be made by the participants but many of the entries, including Drakes, are made by the 4-Hers. Drake’s outfit included a purple blazer and plaid skirt.
Along with wool garments for presenters, the sheep must also have wool clothing apparel. For Dawn, her clothing items were a plaid hat and a scarf made of material that matched Drake’s clothing. The sheep’s items were made by Sue Buhler.
The sheep don’t have to belong to the 4-Her but can be borrowed. The sheep’s clothing can also be made by someone else.
The purpose of the competition is to promote wool industry. The competition takes place in the show ring after all the other sheep judging. The participants write up a description of their outfit for the judge. They walk around the ring with the sheep then stand in front of the judge who asks questions about the clothing and the sheep.
Drake said she told the judge she like showing sheep because of all the great friends she has made. But when they are inside the show ring, they all put on their competitive faces.
“I don’t think that happens anywhere else in sports,” said Drake, a Pratt County 4-H member and student at Pratt High School.
Drake has been in 4-H for nine years and this was her first top award.
“It’s exciting to win my first Grand Champion at the State Fair,” Drake said.
Drake chose to do this project to challenge herself and her sewing skills. She has seen the Shepherd’s Lead many times and her cousin in Manhattan has done it so she wanted to do it herself, Drake said.
Drake will wear the same outfit again on Sept. 14 when she competes in the Fashion Review. And she will compete with the clothes again in November in Manhattan at Kansas State University at the “Make it with Wool” competition.
Pratt County 4-Hers received other high placings at the State Fair including purple ribbons (not grand champions) for Allie Hoeme for a quilt, Kami Hemphill and Hayden Riffey for sewing projects and Emma Roadhouse for photography. Roadhouse’s entry will be on display at Rock Springs 4-H Center.