WOODSTOCK, Conn. — Six-year-old Madelyn Syme and her 11-year-old brother, Evan. might be young, but you’d never know they were new to showing Dorset sheep if you judged them by ribbons alone.
The doe-eyed duo racked up so many ribbons on day two of the 153rd Woodstock Fair — held Labor Day weekend — that Evan “lost count” and couldn’t remember exactly how many he had.
“I got a ton yesterday,” he said, ticking off ribbons on his fingers — champion ewe, reserve champion ewe and reserve champion ram among them. He knows there were more. But remembering was made more difficult with SweeTart, a favorite lamb (born on Valentine’s Day), nibbling on his clothes.
Madelyn, known to her family as “the lamb whisperer,” had a ribbon for champion Dorset ewe tucked away in her back pocket. The others were safely put away, the pile sure to grow as the weekend went on.
Evan and his sister, along with mom and dad, Kim and Matt Syme, were showing at Woodstock for the first time. The family lives on a small farm about an hour away in South Windsor, Conn., raising Polled Dorsets.
“My son started showing,” said Kim Syme. “He wanted to try something different this year we’re kind of new at this.”
So Evan chose the well-known agricultural fair in the Quiet Corner of Connecticut. In his fourth year of showing, he wanted to gain experience, and the popular Labor Day weekend destination guaranteed to offer a new level of skill.
Madelyn, in her first year, is still learning the ropes but is happy to explain the effort required to prepare a sheep for the ring.
“You have to wash them, blow dry them, curry them,” she said.
The young lady has also experienced halter-breaking, walking and even bottle-raising her sheep.
The Woodstock Fair, presented by the Woodstock Agricultural Society Inc., hosts significant agricultural exhibitions and competitions. The fair takes place over Labor Day weekend each year.