NC State Fair–Part 3

An early morning dawned, as our last day of the NC State Fair came upon us. It was time to show some sheep.
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Days before the show, we had washed and trimmed up the sheep to get them looking spiffy for the show. We brought four ewes–Sybil, Edith, Aspen, and Fifi. The boys were super excited. The wool sheep show is one of their favorites. The night before, they put together costumes for the costume class. You can dress up your sheep and yourself, but it has to be worked around wool. Isaac was a fireman theme because wool is flame retardant.

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Gideon was an artist and explained how wool can take dye.

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Both were cute as could be. Gideon won first and Isaac won second. It was a great way to start the show!

The next part of the show were the ewe classes. These classes are judged mostly on the quality of the wool, but also on the ewe’s conformation. Classes are separated by white and colored wool, and long and medium/fine wool. Isaac and Alec were both in the white, long-wool class. It made sense as Fifi and Aspen are twins.

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This was Alec’s first time showing sheep. He didn’t mind it, but he didn’t like the height difference. At 6’4″ he did quite¬† a bit of bending. Still, he looked like a stud.

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Both the boys did good, but Isaac took home the blue ribbon with Aspen. Fifi and Alec got third.

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Gideon showed Edith in the white medium/fine wool class, and won fourth.

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If you went by color, you’d never guess that Edith’s twin was Sybil; however, besides the color, they look just the same. I showed Sybil in the colored, medium/fine wool class.

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Sybil can have a little bit of sass.

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And sometimes, we both toss our heads in disgust…

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But ultimately, she still gets kisses.

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She ended up pulling in a third. I was excited that the judge liked all of the girls conformation. He said they were really stout and well made. Because Isaac got first, he went back in for champion drive. Gid and I were also in the champion drive showing other people’s sheep.

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Champion drive is against all of the ewes–white and colored, long and fine, old and young. Would you believe it, Isaac and Aspen were named Reserve Supreme Ewe!! I almost let go of the sheep I was holding I was so excited. This was the second year in a row that one of our sheep has received this honor. It makes it extra special that we raised these girls.

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All in all, the show was so much fun, and super exciting!

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Our day wasn’t over yet, though. The boys had ride tickets left. We all got to ride ūüôā

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DSC_0053And with that, 2015 NC State Fair was over for the Lintons. It was quite the ride (literally and figuratively), filled with so many memories. Despite it being a lot of work, early mornings, and stress, it is always one of our favorite parts of the year.

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Through My Lens: 2015 Livestock Show and Sale

After two days of showing, a day of clean-up, some ribbons, lots of goats, pigs, and cattle,many great showmen, and 800 pictures later, the 2015 Wayne County Junior Livestock Show and Sale is over. Yes, I did say 800 pictures later. I won’t say I went crazy with being the designated photographer; I’ll just call it thorough. While I have to go through those 800-some pictures, I won’t make you go through them all. Rather, I wanted to highlight my favorites and tell the story that I see in those pictures. The Show and Sale has always been one of my favorite weeks of the year, and many of these photos capture why it means so much to me. I hope you enjoy the show through my lens.

Shave and a Hair Cut…

After everyone has weighed their animal in, the barn is buzzing with the sound of clippers and water is flying in the wash pits. You can see kids helping fellow showmen with their fitting and hear a lot of laughing at various animal antics. Washing pigs typically ends up with the showmen just as wet as the pig, yet somehow smellier than their porky friends. Cows come away fluffier, and goats whiter and slicker. You could say it is the time of makeovers.

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Family Affair

 

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Bath time also includes treats and compliments

 

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“We want out! Water is absolutely no good!”

 

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Oh, so you guys were white pigs. I thought you were brown…

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Pigs have a lot more hair than you would think
Pigs have a lot more hair than you would think

 

Yay for cooperative pigs!
Yay for cooperative pigs!

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Show Time!

The jitters are strong, but the excitement has never been higher. It is show time! The goat show was first on the list followed by cattle. The next morning was hogs. I think everyone did an amazing job, but most importantly, I saw a lot of smiles in the ring.

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One of my favorite parts to watch is the novice division. These munchkins are not only cute as a button, but they are serious too. They know their stuff and can out show some older kids!

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These two kids had major guts. Their calf outweighed them by a lot, and the calves were not always cooperative. Despite one getting loose once and a lot of prancing, these two stayed focused and never gave up. I was impressed with them, for sure.

Always, keep your eyes on the judge…

Our judge for the show, judged all three species and did a great job with the kids. While you show each species of livestock in a different way, there is always one rule that applies across the board–keep your eyes on the judge at all times. I think every child in the show had at least a little conversation with the judge, answering his questions, or just telling him about their animal. I always love the facial expressions that the kids make, and I can’t help but try to read their lips to see what they are saying to the judge.

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Banners and Ribbons

While showing livestock is a competition, it goes far beyond the ribbons and banners. As the quote goes “ribbons fade and buckles tarnish, but the friendships and memories last forever.” I couldn’t agree more. I was always taught by my parents that we weren’t in it to win, although we strive to do our best and winning is nice. We do it for the lessons, the memories, and the pure enjoyment of it. Showing livestock is not a money making activity. Trust me, we go in the hole almost every time. We do it because we love it.

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awards

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I absolutely love the camaraderie in this photo. The smile and embrace says it all.
One of the most prestigious and meaningful awards to me is the Sportsmanship Award. The recipient is voted on by their fellow showman for exhibiting exemplary sportsmanship.
One of the most prestigious and meaningful awards to me is the Sportsmanship Award. The recipient is voted on by fellow showmen for exhibiting exemplary sportsmanship. This includes helping others, congratulating fellow showmen, working with their animal, and just having a good spirit.

champCity Slickers and Costume

A fun aspect of the show is the costume class and city slicker class. Costume class winners are chosen by the audience. There are always some really creative get-ups. City slicker class is for anyone who is not able to show or just wants to experience the world of livestock showing for a few moments. They are paired with a showman and get to take a spin around the ring, learning about showing. It is great to see the mentorship of the showman, and the excited faces of the “city slickers.”

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SOLD!!

After the costume and city slicker classes, the sale begins. The barn is filled with people, as the auction begins. Every child walks through the ring with their animal, to sell. The way our sale works, is there is support price and sponsorship money. Support price is the price per pound of the animal. For example, the hogs weighing from 273 to 280 pounds went for .50 cents per pound. After support price is established, every child brings in their animal for sponsorship money. Sponsorship money are donations given by individuals and businesses in the community to the child. These sponsors do not buy the animal, but rather, bid on the amount to give the child. This helps kids earn money for their livestock project next year, and many use it for a college fund. I want to thank all the buyers for their support. You have made a contribution that goes beyond the ring. You have made a difference in all of these kids’ lives!

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Sold
Sold

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My favorite pictures often come from behind the scenes. These are the pictures that represent the day to day happenings of the show. It is here where the best faces are made, where competitors turn into friends, and the bond of the youth and their animal shines through. The majority of the show happens outside of the ring.

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These two competed against each other in cattle and goats, but remain best friends sharing a fellow passion.

 

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Family is an important part of the show, and is often a multigenerational ordeal. For many it is a tradition that has been passed down for years.

 

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mary and cow

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I love this photo for personal reasons. These are my parents. For 13 years they have helped at the show, getting there early and leaving late. They wrestle animals, shovel poop, answer questions, and still help us with our animals too. They represent the many people who make this event happen. They just happen to be my favorite.
Paperwork and auctioning
Paperwork and auctioning
What would we do without our ringman to break up pig fights?
What would we do without our ringmen to break up pig fights?

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Cleanup, cleanup, everybody do their share…

The last thing that has to be done is cleanup. All pens have to be shoveled and aisles swept. Goat and cattle pens are done the night of the show, and others come back the next morning to clean the hog pens after the pigs have left.

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cleanHeaded home…

After a total of 4 days of setting up, showing, selling, and cleaning, the show is over. Months of preparation and hard work has come to a close. Another year has passed, and it is time to go home.

headed homeBefore we know it, the Show and Sale will be upon us again, but for now, I think I’m going to put my boots aside, and reminisce over the week. While I hope these images have given you a glimpse into the week, looking through the lens does not do the reality justice.

Bringing Home the Bacon

The highly anticipated show pigs are officially here!! I get extra excited about getting pigs, because, well they may be my favorite. Shhhh… don’t tell the others. I hate to play favorites, so I’ll just say I like them A LOT! They are, however, my favorite animal to photograph. They have such personality and are always doing something goofy. Check out this girl:

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I told you they are hams (pun intended), but before I show you more of the photo shoot I had with the little porkers, I wanted to share with you the behind the scenes of bringing home the bacon.

A house that won’t blow down

When we first started showing pigs, we kept them in a dirt lot with a shelter. While this may sound like the perfect habitat for pigs, it really wasn’t. They rooted up the entire pen, creating craters that were begging for a twisted ankle. The pigs would get sunburnt from laying around, and it was a huge mess. So now, our pigs are kept on a concrete floor under a shelter. They have a bedding box, heat lamps for the cold, and a fan for the heat. Unfortunately, concrete floors mean we have to clean the poop everyday, but it is loads better than what we had before.

Before we could bring the pigs home, we had to clean and scrub the pen (sheep had been occupying it for a few months). We laid down fresh bedding and even built a new “wall”. By wall, I mean we put up a fabulous tarp to break the wind during the winter.

I’m pretty sure our toes and hands were frozen by the end of it, but it looked great. We had a house that wouldn’t blow down or be blown into.

What makes the bacon?

Of course, pigs don’t grow off of air. They have to have pig food. We get ours from a local mill that blends a special mixture of corn, vitamins, minerals, soybean meal, and more together to make a delicious meal. Alec ran to the feed store to pick up the sustenance for the pigs.

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This little piggy¬†went wee, wee¬†all the way home…

Today was the day to pick up the pigs. Ahhhh!! I had already picked out the two pigs we were getting at a previous farm¬†visit¬†(if I don’t pick them out ahead of time, I have been known to take over an hour to pick one out). See Farms is about an hour from our house, and we have been getting pigs from them for about two years. We have typically had great success with them including two champion titles and a first place at¬†NC State Fair. It helps that they are nice folks¬†and live close by. All three of my brothers and I piled in the truck with trailer in tow to head to Raleigh, NC.

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Once there, the Sees showed us the pigs as well as the new litter of pigs they had. They were gracious enough to let me snap a bunch of photos of all the pigs. I was able to capture some good ones like these:

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baby piggiesLoading the pigs up into the trailer went pretty smoothly. One of the pigs was super loud, grunting the whole time, but she didn’t give any problems.

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After loading them, I told Isaac that the money to pay for them was in the front seat of the truck. He ran to go get it and returned, handing the money to me. I told him, “Oh no. That isn’t for me. Give it to the Sees.” You know, teaching them young about business transactions (really, I think it just teaches them the sting of dropping a chunk of money).

The boys decided to name their two gilts (girl pig) Halo and Miss Bacon. When we arrived home, we unloaded them and ran them through the scales to determine their weight. In case you are curious they were 145 and 110 pounds.

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We then let them into the pen, to which they explored contentedly. I commenced partaking in another photo shoot.

Bringing home the bacon is a little more than just picking up pigs. It includes tarps, frozen fingers, feed runs, photo shoots, and some money. It is all most definitely worth it! A big thanks to See Farms for these beautiful girls!

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