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Local youth keeps busy showing sheep

Lane Falch, 14, kept busy Wednesday afternoon at the St. Francois County Fair as he readied his 11 sheep for judging later that evening.

Yep, that’s right — 11 sheep.

The long and lanky teenager who will be a sophomore this fall at St. Paul Lutheran High School, lives with his mom and dad on a 50-acre farm in Knob Lick where the family raises around 35 head of sheep.

“We just moved down there a few years back, so we’re still building fence,” Lane explained. “We’ll eventually have some cattle and goats, maybe. Who knows what we’ll have.”

Unlike most kids at the fair, Lane doesn’t have just one major event to prepare for each year. He travels with his parents to various parts of the country to show his sheep.

“I take them out to national shows,” he said. “I was out in Indianapolis over the Fourth of July weekend. I go down to Louisville for shows, out to Ohio — just all over. My first show of the year is usually out in Eden, Ohio, on Mother’s Day Weekend. That’s just kind of the kickoff for my show season and it’s at the end of the school year.

“After that I get a few weeks off and then do a show in Sedalia. Then my last show is in Louisville in November. We’ve been interested in going out to a show down in Houston, Texas — a big livestock expo down there — but we just haven’t gotten down there yet.”

That’s a pretty busy schedule for a young man like Lane, but he’s been raising sheep for quite a while.

“My dad’s a veterinarian, and he has an employee that raises about 100 ewes, or so, down in Annapolis,” he said. “She got me started by getting me my first couple of sheep and got me interested in them and it took off from there.

“I got my first sheep — a little crossbred bottled lamb — when I was 7 and then I got my first purebred in 2013 when I was 9. This is my fifth year overall at the county fair and fourth year with market lambs. In 2015 I got grand reserve with my market lambs, in 2016 I got third, in 2017 I got reserve champion and this — we’ll find out tonight!”

He would go on that night to place first in several classes and win the Junior Sheep Showmanship Award. 

Lane admits it takes a lot of time to take care of his livestock and prepare them for the various shows.

“When school’s in session, I’ve got to get up about 6 a.m.,” he said. “It takes about an hour to feed them when I’m going quick, but usually most of the time I take a good hour-and-a-half to two hours to feed them.

“To get these 11 sheep ready, I spent about two-and-a-half to three hours down in the barn pretty much every day. I was breaking them to lead, getting them set up and just working with them. It’s been crazy to get them ready this year.”

Lane’s dad, Dr. Phillip Falch compliments his son for his effort, but adds that he and his wife also lend a hand in taking care of the sheep.

“Lane puts a lot of time into it,” he said, “but it’s something we do as a family. He puts in the majority of the time and then when it comes to showtime, his mother and I help him do things here. It’s definitely something that we do together. I work quite a few hours, but after I get home we go to the farm and feed and spend time together doing that. It’s just the three of us, but we all do it together.”

A member of 4-H and Future Farmers of America, Lane still finds time to be as active as possible in his church youth group — but admits that sometimes it can be difficult.

“I’m involved as much as I can,” he said. “Wednesday nights are pretty busy for us. We just got a new youth pastor and he seems to be a really good guy. I also helped in Vacation Bible School a few weeks back.”

Asked if it is harder to get VBS kids to follow his lead or sheep, Lane didn’t hesitate an instant in saying, “I was the games coordinator, so I could let the kids just run around. It’s definitely the sheep — no question!”

Here’s the schedule for Thursday and Friday as provided by the fair board:

Thursday

$5 gate admission starts at 8 a.m.

8 a.m. – Open Swine and Sheep in Place

Noon – Open Goats in Place

5 p.m. – Open Beef in Place

6:30 p.m. – Sale of Champions

7:30 p.m. – Barrel Racing

Friday

$8 gate admission starts at 8 a.m.

7:30 a.m. – Open Swine Show – YAB

8 a.m. – Open Sheep Show – YAB

8:30 a.m. Open Goat Show – YAB

9 a.m. Open Dairy Show – YAB

9:30 a.m. Bucket Calf Show – YAB

10 a.m. Open Beef Show – YAB

1-4 p.m. – Senior Day Activities – Exhibit Bldg.

4-10 p.m. – Animals ‘R’ Us 5:30 p.m. – Awards Presentation – YAB

6-10 p.m. – Live Music 6 p.m. – Cornhole Tournament

7 p.m. – Cowboy Mounted Shooting

While there are no carnival rides this year, there are plenty of activities including a petting zoo and the CircusSaurus. For additional information, go to www.sfcfairgrounds.com or the St. Francois County Fair page on Facebook.

“To get these 11 sheep ready, I spent about two-and-a-half to three hours down in the barn pretty much every day.” — Lane Falch

This is just one of 11 sheep Lane Falch, 14, has brought for judging to this week's St. Francois County Fair. The teenager also keeps a busy schedule preparing his sheep for other shows he participates in around the country. Providing a lot of help are Lane's parents who lend a helping hand to their only child.</p><p class=

View additional photos online at dailyjournalonline.com” width=”800″ /> This is just one of 11 sheep Lane Falch, 14, has brought for judging to this week’s St. Francois County Fair. The teenager also keeps a busy schedule preparing his sheep for other shows he participates in around the country. Providing a lot of help are Lane’s parents who lend a helping hand to their only child.

View additional photos online at dailyjournalonline.com

Lane Falch wins several awards including the Junior Sheep Showmanship Award on Wednesday night.

Lane Falch wins several awards including the Junior Sheep Showmanship Award on Wednesday night.

Kevin Jenkins is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3614 or kjenkins@dailyjournalonline.com

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