A lamb bred and shown by local teenager Chandler Carey, of Fairfield Township, won Reserve Grand Champion at the state Farm Show, which was held in Harrisburg at the beginning of January.
Carey, a freshman at Lock Haven University, competes as part of the Beltine show team, which has members from Lycoming and Clinton counties.
"The state Farm Show is very competitive. Only those who win at the county fair level are able to move on to this competition," said James Arnold, coach of Carey's team.
"Winning reserve grand champion means that Chandler has the second best lamb in the state," Arnold added.
For Carey, the win was bittersweet. Due to her age, it will be the last year she can competitively show animals - a hobby she has pursued for more than a decade.
She first was introduced to the sport by her mother and older sister. As time went on, the entire family became involved. Carey believes that dedication to raising and showing animals has helped keep her family close over the years.
"My mom had also shown animals when she was younger and my older sister used to show lambs with us, until she got too old. There's really a team effort within our family," Carey said.
"It really has kept us connected. Rather than each sister going out, persuing their own sport and being away for practice, we all gather together to go out to the barn and spend time with each other while caring for the animals," she said.
Carey fondly recalled the lessons she learned while raising farm animals.
"I really believe that raising my own flock of animals has been one of the most beneficial things that has ever happened in my life," Carey said.
"You mature quickly when you have to care for another living creature. It helps you develop a sense of responsibility and teaches you problem solving skills," she said.
She said raising a litter of hogs or flock of lambs is very different than raising a dog or cat.
"Dogs, for example, learn very quickly. They're more independent," Carey said.
"Lambs need to be taught everything, even how to walk on a halter. At first, they pull and pull. But after a few weeks you start seeing progress, and it's a very rewarding experience," she added.