After months of preparation, two youngsters are finally ready to put their hard work to the test. Shelly Chambers, 13, and Dalton Chambers, 11 from …
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After months of preparation, two youngsters are finally ready to
put their hard work to the test. Shelly Chambers, 13, and Dalton
Chambers, 11 from outside Agate, are facing tough competition this
year at the National Western Stock Show in Denver.
On Jan. 19, both faced almost 100 competitors in the swine
showmanship competition. In most competitions, a first, second and
third place is awarded, but not in showmanship. Only one person is
the winner, and every person in the arena wants that honor.
“If you’re not first, you’re last,” said Jolene Chambers, mother
of Shelly and Dalton.
Shelly has been showing animals at the stock show for four years
and Dalton for two years. They also show animals at the Elbert
County Fair and the Colorado State Fair. But both agree the stock
show is definitely on another level.
“It is a lot bigger and the competition is a lot harder,” Shelly
During a showmanship competition, the judge is judging how well
each person presents their animals to the judge. During the stock
show, three to four classes with around 25 young people in each
were in the arena with their pigs working to get the judge’s
attention. Each class competes separately, and the judge chooses
the top two of each class, who will then compete against each other
where the judge finally chooses the winner. Shelly said it is
important to keep the pig in between yourself and the judge at all
times and to maintain eye contact with the judge.
Before heading into the arena, Shelly and Dalton must wash, dry
and brush their pigs, which is the easy part. The hard part is
waiting for their class to be called. The nerves start to kick in
and the butterflies begin to fly. Shelly was in the fourth and
final class making her wait even more stressful.
“I hate just waiting,” she said. “At least when you are in the
first class you don’t have to sit here and think about it.”
Both kids have good reason to be nervous. Preparation for this
show did not happen over night. Shelly and Dalton spend the
majority of their spare time taking care of their animals. They
said in order to be successful at shows, allowing the animals to
get to know them is key. Even though some animals, like pigs, are
hard to control, it is important to know their personalities and
how they will react in the arena. Some animals, like lambs are
easier to show because you can have some control over them. But
steers and pigs are another story.
“Pigs are hard to show because you can’t lead them and they king
of go where they feel like going,” Shelly said. “They kind of push
Dalton who also shows steers said staying calm in the arena is
also needed in order to do well.
“Especially with steers you can’t be scared,” he said. “If you
are scared, they get scared and they really won’t hold still.”
After the siblings show their animals in the showmanship
competition, the next step is the market show. The animals are
judged on their physique, including muscle tone and structure and
then auctioned off. This is a hard time for both Shelly and Dalton
leaving them in tears as the animals are taken away.
“I cry every single time over every animal,” Shelly said.
As both siblings showed their pigs, they did not take home the
win, but were given construction criticism by the judge. Dalton was
told his pig moved too slow and ironically, Shelly was told her pig
moved too fast.
Even though they were not the winners in the swine showmanship
competition, each will have another shot when they show their lambs
and steers later in the week.
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