Nine-year-old Alison Roles loves animals.
“They’re fun to work with,” Alison, who showed five sheep at the Frederick Fair Youth Livestock Show on Sunday, said.
But preparing for the sheep show at the fairgrounds wasn’t easy. It took hard work and a couple months to get them all ready and fit, Alison said. But it all paid off Sunday when she won supreme grand champion with her ewe in the breeding category and first place in her class in showmanship.
The sheep show, which began at 9 a.m., was divided into three categories, breeding, market and showmanship. English horses were also shown on Sunday.
The livestock show is being shown virtually, due to COVID-19.
Alison showed sheep in all three categories.
To prepare for the show, she said they had to walk, wash and sheer the sheep. It’s also important to make sure the sheep have the right diet so they look good.
“It was fun to do this,” Alison said.
And it’s not just fun for the kids.
Dave Conrad is helping do the live commentary for the shows, which are streamed on WDVM-TV's website. On Saturday, he gave commentary for the beef show and on Sunday he did the same for the sheep show from the broadcast booth located next to the show ring.
Conrad said he’s learning a lot while commentating and that it’s also been rewarding.
“It’s all about the kids,” he said. “It always is. It always has been, for the most part here at the fair and so the kids, when you see the expressions on their face and you know, right before the judge picks who the winner is and it’s really tense and you can tell they’re like, ‘Oh, I hope it’s me, I hope it’s me.’”
Conrad said he was thankful for the fair and the county and state health departments.
"There's a whole bunch of new rules they had to go through to pull this off, all within, like I don't know, a month and a half. Everyone just got in here and said, 'we've got to do this for the kids and let's do it,'" he said.
It’s also special for Conrad because he’s seen the community grow up.
“When I first started all this like back in 2001 on the radio, you know, you meet the kids,” he said. “Well then those kids grow up and the next thing you know a few years later … they come back and well, they’ve got a kid … So many adults today said, ‘Dave, you know we used to listen to you on the bus all the time. Here, meet Jamie, my son. Now he’s listening to you.’”
All in all, Conrad said it’s the experience of a lifetime, history in the making.
“And to be a part of that, that’s good enough for me.”
As for Alison, she plans on showing again next year. She might even expand on her experience and enter the rabbit show, too.