By DARCY DOUGHERTY MAULSBY
For The Messenger
DES MOINES - Although she has already competed at four county fairs this summer, Nichole Licht, of Manson, knows there's nothing like winning at the Iowa State Fair.
"It's great to have all my hard work pay off in the show ring here," said Licht, 17, who showed the champion and reserve champion yearling ewe at the 2011 Iowa State Fair.
Competing has become a passion for Licht, who exhibited livestock this year at the Calhoun County Expo, the Webster County Fair, the Wright County Fair and the Humboldt County Fair. It's also a natural fit for this Manson Northwest Webster FFA member, who is also the Webster County Pork Princess and was a runner-up in the Webster County Fair Queen contest earlier this summer.
"By the time you get to the state fair, the competition is a lot harder, but it's such a fun place to be," said Licht, who is the daughter of Scott and Debbie Licht.
Although Licht has exhibited livestock at the Iowa State Fair several times before, this was the first year that she didn't show sheep with her older brother, Danny. Licht credits Paul Kampen of Humboldt for helping her fine-tune her showmanship skills.
"All of the bloodlines for our sheep, which are a Suffolk/Hampshire cross, came from Paul's flock, and he's like a grandfather to me," she said. "I've learned so much from him."
This solid foundation in animal husbandry has sparked Licht's interest in studying animal science at college after she graduates from high school next spring. She is considering a career in large-animal veterinary medicine.
In the meantime, however, she is looking forward to exhibiting her sheep at the 2011 Clay County Fair.
"I'm glad I've had the opportunity to show livestock at the fair, because I've met a lot of great people," Licht said.
Contact Darcy Dougherty Maulsby at (515) 573-2141 or firstname.lastname@example.org