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Family team behind winning lamb at fair

Kaden Ramage smiles as the judge announces her lamb the first-place winner in class 6 of the blackface market lamb show Wednesday morning at the Chaves County 4H and FFA Fair at the Eastern New Mexico State Fairgrounds. (Juno Ogle Photo)

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

Kaden Ramage was the one in the show ring during the market lamb show Wednesday morning, but behind the scenes, her parents were there helping prepare her next lamb to show.

Her mother, Jennifer Ramage, was just outside the show ring, cheering her on while dad Jason Duffey was in the barn grooming Fonzie, her final lamb to show in the blackface lamb class.

He brushed the lamb down with a combination of liquid soap, lotion and conditioner to help its wool feel soft. Sometimes, that can make the difference, Duffey said.

“They’re going to judge every aspect of the animal. It’s not just the way they look, it’s the way the kid shows, the way the sheep performs, how they act in the show ring and how they feel,” he said.

“If you have two sheep that are pretty close structurally and everything, it might come down to a feel,” he said.

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Kaden is a member of the Roswell High School FFA chapter and will be a senior this year. She started showing animals when she was in the third grade.

She and her family travel the country to different livestock shows to such cities as Denver, Phoenix and Louisville, where she competes for cash prizes as well as scholarships in showmanship, her mother said.

The family becomes a team for the shows, Kaden said.

“It’s really nice because I get input from everyone. We all work together as a team. And then we go home and we’re a family,” she said.

It can be hard to make the separation between the family’s coaching roles and family roles, however, she said.

“When you’re taking advice from them, it’s hard for me not to get upset. You just have to separate it,” she said.

After high school, Kaden plans to get an animal science degree at Texas Tech University in Lubbock and wants to become a veterinarian.

Kaden won champion blackface market lamb with Fonzie and placed in several other divisions with other lambs in the blackface class. Family and friends gathered around to offer their congratulations, but she didn’t have much time to celebrate. The mutton crossbreed show was up next, and dad already had her next lamb on the grooming table.

City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or reporter04@rdrnews.com.

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