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Bubba the sheep stood still for the mud, the ketchup and the mustard.
“You’re a hot dog,” announced the judge with the mustard bottle, just as she finished putting a line of yellow on the sheep’s back.
On your mark, get set ... clean your critters!
Four teams competed in the All Livestock Groom & Clean competition Friday during the Bartholomew County 4-H Fair. Royalty from the Queen’s Court participated for fun, but were not part of the competition.
The first judge rubbed mud on the animals’ bodies. The second squirted ketchup on the animals’ backs and legs. The third followed with mustard to complete the strange picture.
Competitors were given 15 minutes to clean their animals, after which the same judges looked them over and announced that the three-member team of Allison Roberts, 14, Caleb Roberts, 12, and Josey Rutan, 18, was the winner.
The judges looked for the cleanliness of the various work stations and even the dryness of the animals — given that they all needed baths.
“It’s exciting,” said Allison Roberts, who competed before in the event with her siblings and won twice previously.
Morgan Meier and Sara Otte, both 13, and Kenton Kamman, 11, entered Bubba.
The two girls used squirt bottles and brushes, while the boy toweled off the sheep.
They thought they were done after five minutes but continued to prep and shine the goat until the 15 minutes expired.
Sydney Morey, 14, Megan Purdue, 13, and Maddie Steinwedel, 13, brought a bull calf that was born about a month ago.
J.D. Myers, 10, Caitlin Artis, 15, and Stephanie Wilson, 16, brought a miniature horse.
“Her tail is good,” announced Wilson to her team.
“Brush her face,” Wilson instructed Myers.
“You got ketchup on the inside leg,” Wilson told Artis.
Wilson said the team enters the competition for fun, but also to brush up on their skills for a similar grooming and cleaning contest at the Indiana State Fair.
Rules at the local fair were less stringent. However, the team acted as if it were the state competition so they could practice their individual jobs and teamwork with one another.
“If you live with horses, you learn to keep them clean,” she said.
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