JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Sawyer Smith is five years old. He brought his lamb, Shaggy, to show in the 4-H competitions at the state fairgrounds in the days leading up to the Dixie National.
“He’s cute and he stays in Hayden’s trailer and we keep him at home in Mama’s bathroom,” Sawyer said.
He’s one of hundreds of kids from all over the state bringing their animals and their personalities to the show.
“I don’t know why he steps on people’s feet but he likes to do it and it hurts really bad,” said Jenna Graves.
Lily Everett says she's in Jackson with a cow she's raised from a calf.
“It don’t take much but feed and water. She has to be halter broken if you want to put her on a halter, and it’s really hard to do that with a cow since they’re so much bigger than this. They can get up to like 2,000 pounds,” she said.
Lara Horton says she's happy to show her baby sheep for that reason.
"It's easier for me to lift her up and show her."
The importance of programs like 4-H and the Future Farmers of America is that they instill certain character qualities in young people they might not get elsewhere, according to Clarke County Mississippi State Extension Service Agent Christy King.
“We want them to learn about their livestock project, but we also want them to learn decision making and responsibility and character and ethics," King said. "These are all things we use the animal to teach the kids.”
These kids say they love 4-H for a lot of reasons.
“My favorite thing is getting to help out with everything, and doing fundraisers and everything,” said Sadie Nichols.