Sixty young people from seven states received two full days of all things lamb and goat at the annual Massey’s Show Lamb Camp in the MTSU Tennessee Livestock Center.
The youngsters, ages 5 to 18, gained a new or better understanding of how to care for their animals and to prepare them to be shown in competitions in their respective states.
The Massey family — patriarch J.B. Massey, daughters Rachel Boyd and Sarah Clause and granddaughter Emma Boyd, all from Arkansas and agriculture teacher Pete Dempsey of Lawton, Oklahoma — covered selection, feeding, clipping, grooming, showmanship and more during the nearly 20 hours of classroom and show ring sessions.
Campers from Arkansas, West Virginia, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and Georgia joined campers from Tennessee at the event.
Parents Natalie and Chris Gibson of Louisa, Virginia, registered 5-year-old twins Bella and Eli in the camp for the first time, 7-year-old Stella for the third time and 16-year-old son Tyler for yet another year of the camp.
The Gibsons, who live on a farm in central Virginia between Charlottesville and Richmond, carry their children to compete on the Virginia Showmasters Circuit — at nine locations all across the commonwealth — as they promote the industry and proper care of the animals.
By midafternoon June 4, Stella Gibson said she “had learned how to clip” and that the camp was both good and fun.
“This gets them ready for the show ring,” Natalie Gibson said.
Most of the younger children name their animals. Eli’s lamb is named Braxton, and his goat is named Zander. For Bella, it’s Blossom the lamb and Rose the goat. Stella’s lamb is named Baby, and her goat is named Lily.
Mom Natalie said Tyler leaves the animal naming rights to his younger siblings.
Along with his family, Tyler Gibson will receive a personal tour of the MTSU farm and dairy, also known as the university’s Experiential Learning and Research Center, Wednesday, June 6, from Jessica Carter, the director of the MTSU School of Agribusiness and Agriscience. He is interested in attending MTSU.
The Masseys already have been to Montana as part of the 10-camp tour they operate, and they’ll make two or three more stops in December.
MTSU has more than 240 combined undergraduate and graduate programs. The School of Agribusiness and Agriscience is one of 11 College of Basic and Applied Sciences departments.
— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)