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After 9 long years, she’s finally a winner

“Don’t trip and don’t let go.”

These were the words running through Kelsey Huddle’s head as she showed her lamb at the Lawrence County Fair on Tuesday morning. Although simple, these words worked: Huddle and her lamb Franklin took home grand champion.

“I’m happy, I’m nervous, I’m everything all in one,” she said after the competition.

As her friends came up to congratulate her, her happiness was spread across the smile on her face.

Huddle, a 17 year old from Rock Hill High School, has been showing sheep since she was eight years old and has never won grand champion until this year. Last year, she came in third.

“She had high hopes last year,” said her father Dave Huddle. He said that she didn’t let the disappointment get her down and simply trained harder this year.

Huddle has been training Franklin since she bought him in April. Born in January, Franklin won Huddle’s heart right away.

“For a lamb you have to look at different components,” Huddle said. “It’s all got to come together. I just loved him from the beginning.”

After bringing Franklin home, she started a vigorous training schedule.

“She’s in the barn every morning and every evening,” said her mother Teresa Huddle. “She has worked so hard.”

Franklin’s training began walking on a harness and progressed little by little until she could lead him by the head.

Franklin used to kick his legs, said Huddle, but she trained him to stand still.

“I just cared about presenting my lamb the best I could and apparently that helped me out today,” Huddle said. “Eventually it all comes together. Once you get them used to you they work pretty well in the showing.”

“I just couldn’t be more proud of her,” her father said.

Huddle will be a senior this year. She is hoping to go to Cedarville College and is thinking about majoring in education or forensic science.