The hard work, hopes and dreams of a sheepherding family all rested on one teen, one sheep and one last fair. In the end, Chelsi Van Dyke achieved victory during the last chance she had to win.
Van Dyke is 18, and this was her last chance to compete in the Eastern New Mexico State Fair’s Market Lamb Show, Wednesday. She grew up looking up to her brother, Chance, 24. The siblings showed sheep for years and had done well in the Lea County Fair but had never won the coveted trophy at the ENMSF — until now.
Van Dyke won Grand Champion with her sheep, Brenneman.
“I’ve been striving for this for a long time,” said Van Dyke, a New Mexico State University freshman studying agricultural communication. She is a Hobbs High School graduate and member of Future Farmers of America.
The daughter of Brent and Kim Van Dyke, Chelsi said she’s “grown up around (fair shows) my whole life.”
Reserve Grand Champion went to Jessica Burson, whose numerous recognitions for showing award-winning goats and sheep is astonishing given her brief 17 years of life.
Named for his ear tag, Burson said she did not do anything special to help 26 grow larger than other market lambs.
“He’s older than a lot of the other sheep,” she explained, adding that some sheep simply grow larger.
Burson is a senior at Goddard High School and a member of FFA. She said she does not know yet what she’ll do after graduating. However, the daughter of Cheri and Cody Burson said she is certain about what she likes best about showing animals.
“We get to spend a lot of family time together,” she said with a smile.