4-Hers host "Shamrock Showdown"

Tuesday, March 20, 2018
Craighead Co. 4-Hers show livestock. (photo/Nan Snider)

There was definitely a showing of the green Saturday, March 17, as Craighead County 4-H Livestock Club members hosted the “Shamrock Showdown” at the Arkansas State Univeristy Show Barn for residents of the Jonesboro Human Development Center.

An old Irish Proverb states, “A good friend is like a four-leaf clover, hard to find and lucky to have.” Eight JHDC residents found a barn full of animal friends along with their 4-H owners and coaches. The residents took turns learning how to feed, groom, lead and display their animals during the full-scale livestock show encounter.

The Craighead County 4-H Livestock Club is made up of members from throughout the county and is led by Leigh Ann Short of Lake City. They meet monthly at the County Extension Office, in Jonesboro.

“All of our 4-H members love animals and take personal responsibility in caring for them daily,” Short said. “They wanted to share their livestock show experience with the residents at JHDC so they could also feel the pride in working with animals in the arena. There is a lot of preparation and training that goes into making an animal look its best and perform well in a show.”

Livestock club members, program workers and animals included: Dalton Short, calf and sheep; Maleigh Short, sheep; Miley Anderson, goat; Jessie Kreger, Boer goats; Mason Knuckles, hog; Barbara Osborn, goats; Melissa Lamb, horse; Zoe Byrd, Kune Kune pigs; Brodie Byrd, Minilop rabbit; Lauren Osborn, Nigerian goats; Abby Williard, goats; Gabby Edison, goat; Colbie Huffman, goat; Sam Garrett, goats; along with helpers Arden and Ensley Vaughn; Kylie Meredith, ASU student extension intern: Judge Julie Thompson; Kaylen Doss, singer of National Anthem; and Maleigha Cook, Craighead County 4-H Extension Agent.

Many of the 4-H families woke up about 5:30 a.m. to prepare their animals for transport. As Lori Byrd and her family prepared to leave Walcott with their pig “Princess," two chickens and two rabbits, they discovered their truck was full of gravel and unable to be used. The family was forced to use their grandmother's car to transport the animals, kids and equipment. Byrd laughed as she shared how much “Princess” loved riding in the back seat looking out the back window, and the stares they got as people witnessed the animals in the car. Inventiveness is the name of the game when it comes to making it to the show on time. 

Cynthia Wilson is the volunteer coordinator at JHDC. She and eight adult volunteers assisted the residents with their journey through the show barn and pins. Three of the eight residents in attendance were in wheelchairs. 

“Some of the residents are timid with animals, and some just have a natural affection,” Wilson said. “This is great pet therapy for them all. They get to brush the animals, pet them and lead them around in the barn. We like to introduce them to many new experiences. We recently had a “Be your own Beautiful Gala” event where the ladies dressed up and had their hair and make-up done. They loved having that special day.”

At the close of the livestock show training, each JHDC participant took turns showing their animals around the ring for judging. Former 4-H’er Julie Thompson, of Monette, served as guest judge, giving each resident an uplifting critique of their animal’s showmanship.

As Ringmaster Maleigha Cook announced “Show Time” the JHDC resident handlers paraded their animals around the big ring. Participants included: Robbie with his halter horse “Chile;” Samantha with a white miniature horse; Charles and Chris with their breeding goats; Michael with his breeding lamb; Pam with her crossbred dairy goat; and Shanda and Stacey with their chickens and rabbits.

During the awards presentation each handler and 4-H participant received a “Shamrock Showdown” engraved silver tray, presented by 4-H Agent Cook, for their showmanship in the event.

Throughout the morning, refreshments of green iced doughnuts were served, followed by hot dogs, hamburgers and chips for lunch.

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