Family Overcomes Adversity
The Jackson County Youth Fair witnessed determination and unity as the Bradley siblings, Blaine, Brynn, and Baylor, faced a multitude of challenges in their pursuit of excellence in showcasing lambs. Despite a rollercoaster ride of adversity, these young exhibitors demonstrated resilience.
With a significant setback Blaine Bradley, a 7th grader at Edna Junior High with five years of experience in raising lambs, suffered a collarbone injury on September 14th. The injury was severe enough to require surgery, which took place on September 18th, leaving Blaine unable to handle his lamb. According to the doctor’s orders, he was not supposed to lift anything heavier than a coffee cup.
“I was playing football, and I fell wrong and broke my collarbone. I got with Brant Peters and asked him to show it for me,” Blaine explained.
In a display of family solidarity, Blaine’s younger twin sisters, Brynn and Baylor, rose to the occasion. With Big Booty Judy, Brynn’s show pig, passing away, the family’s tradition of having a backup lamb proved invaluable. This year marked the second consecutive year where a backup became essential, emphasizing the unpredictability of livestock competitions.
Brynn, a 5th grader at Edna Elementary with experience in showing pigs since 3rd grade, had never showcased a lamb before. To adapt to the new challenge, the sisters swapped lambs, as Baylor’s lamb proved more cooperative. It was a move that paid off in the end.
Brynn secured an impressive 1st place in the lightweight lamb class, while Baylor claimed a well-deserved 2nd place in the same category. These victories opened the doors for both of them to compete for Grand and Reserve Grand Champion titles.
For Blaine, the journey was no less challenging. He had to find someone to show his lamb in his absence. He reached out to Brant Peters, a fellow exhibitor experienced in showcasing lambs, who graciously agreed to step in. Under Brant’s guidance, Blaine’s lamb managed to secure 3rd place in the heavyweight lamb division.
In an interview with Brynn and Baylor, they shared their experiences and insights. Brynn, reflecting on the transition from pigs to lambs, stated, “It’s kind of challenging because usually all the lambs weigh more than us, so we have to really get strong to be able to control them. You just have to connect with them and let them know you’re you.” “Your emotions affect the lamb. So, if you’re stressed, your lamb will be stressed out,” Baylor added. “One of my favorite parts is just spending time with my family and with the lambs.”
Blaine, when asked about his experience, mentioned, “It’s basically just a connection with them. It’s like the more time you spend with them, the better you become. My parents help me out. I placed third and I also got reserve champion commercial heifers.”
The Bradley siblings’ story is one of perseverance, teamwork, and a deep connection with their animals. Despite the curveballs thrown their way, they remind everyone that sometimes, the journey is just as remarkable as the destination.