GONZALES — Sophia Palmer donned zebra-striped rubber boots as she sheared a sheep for the first time Friday in preparation to show at the Ascension Parish 4-H Livestock Show.
Sophia, 9, a member of the Central Primary School 4-H club, was carrying on a long family tradition of taking part in the livestock show, said uncle Shannon Lejeune, a retired high school agriculture teacher.
Lejeune, 50, said he showed animals as a teenager and his daughter, who is now in college, also showed at the livestock event. Lejeune’s son, a junior at East Ascension, also shows sheep and goats during the daylong event held at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center.
“It’s been a family thing for a long time,” he said, adding that he doesn’t mind helping the children shear and prepare their animals for the show arena.
“I did the same thing with her that I did with all the others,” he said. “I gave her the clippers and told her she had to at least try.”
Across the barn, Destiny Bourgeois, 18, was maneuvering her hog into a pen.
Bourgeois, a student at St. Amant High School, has been showing livestock since she was in the fourth grade.
“Yes, it’s a family thing for us,” she said. “It teaches responsibility, and with showmanship it’s all on you. Even if your pig doesn’t behave, you can still win because you know what you’re doing to control the pig.”
Bourgeois’ sister, Sadie, 9, also was showing pigs during the one-day show.
Members of 4-H from around the parish exhibited their sheep, cattle, hogs, goats, chickens and rabbits during the parish show.
Winners in each division will continue to show starting Tuesday in the South Central District Livestock Show at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center.
Animals will begin arriving Tuesday for registration and weigh-in and the swine and dairy cattle showmanship starts at 2 p.m.
Market hog judging starts at 8 a.m. Wednesday and beef cattle showmanship contests start at 8 a.m. in the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center arena.
The district livestock show, which includes entries from seven parishes, ends Jan. 31.