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Not baa-d: Taylor wins top spots in lamb shows

Kyle Taylor, 17, couldn't be too unhappy about taking home the Reserve Champion trophy in Monday night's market lamb show at the Lawrence County Fair.

Taylor lost the first-place award to himself.

That's right, the one-man lamb-raising wrecking crew secured the grand and reserve champion slots in the overall competition, and all it took was a little blood, sweat and shears.

"I spent a lot more time in the barn, I put in a lot of hard work and time into it," Taylor said. "And I had some good sheep."

Taylor is in his 10th year of exhibiting sheep at the Lawrence County Fair, and though this is his second Reserve Champion prize, it is his first Grand Champion prize.

As his name was announced, and he pointed his finger and a smile towards the heavens, it was clear the honor meant a lot to him.

"It feels pretty good, it's been a long time coming," Taylor said. "We've been close a lot, but with a lot of hard work and determination, you can do whatever you want."

It was the first visit to Lawrence County for judge Greg Fogle, Herdsman for Ohio State University's Beef and Sheep Studies. Though he would have liked to have seen more than the 28 lambs being presented by the 14 teens (each must bring two), he was impressed with the offering overall.

"I'm mainly looking for muscling and trimness," Fogle said. "It's all going to boil down into terms of how they are as a retail product."

With his award for his lambs firmly in hand, Taylor was quickly turning his focus to the upcoming showmanship competition, which judges how the lambs are presented rather than their quality.

"I don't care if my shirt's tucked in or whatever, I just want that sheep to be looking its best," Taylor said. "It's like when you go to a car show, you want it looking great, that's what you do with these sheep."

Taylor said he planned to present his sheep as best he could, but knew that he didn't have a leg up because of his double win.

"The sheep doesn't really come into play, it's all about how you present him," Taylor said. "That's what's good about showmanship, is that anybody can win."

So does that mean the grand champion prefers the showmanship competition?

"No, it doesn't matter to me," Taylor said as he stroked his prize lamb. "A win's a win."

And win he did. Taylor walked away with the showmanship title in the senior division as well.

As one fan said, "It was just Kyle Taylor's night."

Market lamb show and showmanship winners

Grand Champion - Kyle Taylor

Reserve Champion - Kyle Taylor

3rd - Heather Wheeler

4th - Brittany Norris

5th - Brittany Norris

6th - Kaitlin Huddle

7th - Kendra Saunders

8th -

Latosha Hatfield

9th - Brice Sexton

10th - Kaitlin Huddle

Showmanship winners

Senior class - Kyle Taylor

Intermediate class - Heather Wheeler

Junior class - Kelsey Huddle