Little I: Not So Little

Posted: April 18, 2013

Arika blogs about showing a sheep in Block and Bridle Club's Little International Livestock Exposition.

What a semester it has been so far! My spring semester has been no walk in the park, but there is so much to do here in the springtime that it’s hard not to be busy!

Over the last month I endured struggle, conflict, and enjoyment—all because of a ewe. Every year, Penn State Block and Bridle Club hosts the Little International Livestock Exposition at the Snider Ag Arena, or “Little I” as we call it. This year we celebrated the 96th anniversary and had a great crowd turnout regardless of the early start and cold temperatures.

My Little I journey started on March 13 when I was introduced to my ewe, who I soon named Lily. I will say the first few days were rough and we had our differences. I started our time together by getting her used to me and walking her on a halter. It wasn’t easy, but we managed to see past our differences and soon made some progress. 

Little I practices are extremely important to ensure that the animal remains under control and will not harm itself or you when you show it in the arena. I made sure that I could attend all the mandatory practices and tried to dedicate as much of my free time as possible so that my lamb would be ready for the show. 

Even though I had shown sheep multiple times before at my county fair and at the Pennsylvania Farm Show, my experience at Little I tops the rest. I realized that by dedicating my extra time to walking Lily, show day was far easier. For the first time, I learned how to clip a ewe with hand shears and to card the wool instead of slick shearing like I had done for market lambs at my county fairs.

April 13 quickly approached and before I knew it, it was the morning of the show.  After what seemed to be an hour in the show ring, I was awarded third place in my fitting class and second in professional showmanship. 

Although I didn’t advance to the final rounds for the overall showman competition, I was still proud of how I handled myself in the situation. In the past, I would get sour about not receiving the high award in my class and I’d later beat myself up about my performance. Yet during Little I all I could think about was how great it was to show a ewe again in the show ring. I was so happy for the students who were showing for the first time. Their skill levels thoroughly impressed me. It was a great day overall.  

As a member of Block and Bridle, I highly encourage any student in the college to become a part of our organization. I have made so many friends and connections through this club that I’m not sure what I would’ve done without it. Becoming involved in the College of Ag Sciences will help with your social and academic life by providing both fun activities and professional items to add to your resume. 

I really enjoyed my time this past weekend and will miss walking Lily every week!

Until next time, current and future Nittany Lions!