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Heat, competition bring sweat to sheep show

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Garrett Porter wrangles his sheep into place, while keeping his eyes on the judge, John Mrozinski, during the sheep showmanship. Temperatures reached 91 degrees with a triple-digit heat index Wednesday, leaving Porter, other 4-H'ers and fair goers with little relief until a heavy downpour helped reduce temperatures to the lower 70s. Porter won his junior class and advanced to intermediate showmanship. Banner Graphic/SHANNEN HAYES
GREENCASTLE -- Wednesday was a long, hot day at the fair.

At the end of the day, it was all worth it for 4-H'ers like Bailey Shuee, who won rookie showmanship in the sheep show; Garrett Porter, who won the junior showmanship; Hannah Wyttenbach, who won intermediate; and Vittoria Gygi, who won senior.

"(Rookie) is my favorite class to judge," said John Mrozinski, who has been judging at fairs since 1980. "Because of the smiles on kid's faces after a long and hot day."

The sheep show began at 8 a.m. and through the 91-degree heat and a heavy downpour, exhibitors put heaps of effort into showing with their animal. Mrozinski said showmanship is more about the animal than the exhibitor. As a judge, he looks at how clean the animal is and how it is handled -- don't overpower the sheep and be calm.

He might ask the kids a few simple questions about their animal, such as its breed, age and possibly a trick question, too.

"How many top teeth does a sheep have," he asked.

The answer: None.

They have a hard pad.

Mrozinski travels throughout the country and Mexico to judge at fairs like Putnam County's 4-H fair. His favorite is the Los Angeles County fair because it's "clean and beautiful."

"I like that Putnam County is competitive, though," he said. "It's fun and makes my job more challenging. I like that."

Vittoria Gygi poses with her sheep and senior showmanship trophy. Gygi has been a 4-H'er for the past eight years. Her advice to rookies: "Smile and stay calm." Banner Graphic/SHANNEN HAYES
Mrozinski also enjoys the people and quality of livestock in Putnam County. He hails from Rolling Prairie, which is located about 6 to 7 miles from the Michigan state line.

Fifth-year 4-H member Hannah Wyttenbach has walked away with two showmanship awards -- junior beef and sheep intermediate class. Although this is Hannah's fourth year showing sheep, she said she was excited to have won both in the same year.

"It's a lot of work, but a lot of fun," she said.

Her advice to the rookies: Smile.

After Hannah won rookie showmanship four years ago, her family decided to sponsor its trophy.

Senior showmanship winner Vittoria Gygi said her advice to the younger 4-H'ers would be to stay calm. It may just have been her calmness that helped launch her into the winner's circle Wednesday.

"You need to let (the sheep) work in their natural way," said Mrozinski, as he judged Vittoria's class. "This young lady did just that, she was very calm with her sheep."

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Thats Preston Porter not Garrett!!

-- Posted by NPGrad on Thu, Jul 29, 2010, at 12:07 PM

It's nice to see "new" faces win. Congratulations Bailey Shuee !!I'm sure you did great !

-- Posted by mindmyownbusiness on Thu, Jul 29, 2010, at 12:38 PM

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