Kids learn animal exhibition at Connors' champ camp

Lamb at Lamb CampLogan Bays and Hunter Adams did their best to shear a constantly bleating lamb Friday afternoon.

“He’s afraid of the noise the clippers make,” said Logan, 10, of Wellston.

However, the two managed to get the job done. They had applied what they had learned through the week at Be a Champ Show Cattle and Lamb Camp.

Now in its 35th year at Connors State College, the camp helps young people from across the United States learn how to show sheep and cattle at livestock shows.

Camp participants often share what they learn with others, regardless of age and experience, said Jerry McPeak, who has put on the camp since it started. He said it is not uncommon for students as young as fourth or fifth grades to have more experience than 10th- or 11th-graders who have not shown before.

“Campers are so open to suggestion, so accepting of help, regardless of who gives it,” McPeak said. “We talk about asking questions — taking what you can learn from wherever it comes from.”

Briley Stoll, 10, of Elgin came across like an old pro as she shared lamb clipping advice with first-year camper Macie Edgmon, 11, of Walters. Briley is in her second year at the camp.

“My first year helped me learn how to show sheep and shear sheep,” Briley said. “I wasn’t sure how to do it. It’s a fun experience.”

DSC_4727-X2Macie said Briley has helped her a lot.

“They’re all very helpful,” she said, referring to camp instructors as well as fellow campers.

Macie said she is learning new ways to shear and brace her lamb.

She said bracing is “when you get your lamb positioned to help them flex their muscles.”

Hunter, 9, of Tannehill also said he learned ways to shear lambs.

He said he learned “if you hold your clippers for a long time they can get heavy.”

Hunter and Logan, who are both in their first year of camp, said the lamb seemed well-behaved, even if it was loud and scared.

McPeak said many campers return again and again. The campers spend a week and stay in Connors dormitories.

“Every dorm room is full this year,” McPeak said, adding that he already has a waiting list for next year’s Be a Champ camps.

“And we don’t have the dates final yet,” he said.

Campers aren’t the only ones who keep coming back. Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb has made several annual visits, talking with campers. He praised what he saw this year.

“They do a lot of hard work,” Lamb said. “These young people will be the ones who clothe and feed us. It gives me a lot of faith in the future.”


Article Reprint from the Muskogee Phoenix Online.

Photo Credit: Kaylee Casey, Triple Nickel Photography.