My name is McClain Blackmon (15), my brothers are Ashton Blackmon (11) and Eli Blackmon (8), Dad, Clint Blackmon, and Mom, Teal Blackmon
We live in Lindsay, CA. We moved here from Southern California 7 years ago.
I purchased my first market hog at age 9 to show in 4H at our local fair. My brothers and I are
3rd generation 4Hers. My Great Grandparents raised Dorset Sheep, my Grandma, aunts and
uncles grew up showing every species of livestock with their main focus being the Dorset Sheep, both breeding and market lambs. My mom also grew up involved in 4H and FFA showing horses but showed Dorset market lambs at her local fair.
My Dad was involved in FFA but stuck to welding and mechanics. My family decided to move from Southern California to the Central Valley so my brothers and I would have the opportunity to be involved in 4H and FFA.
After my first year showing a pig, I knew that showing livestock was what I wanted to do, and decided to show at the County Fair. I spent a couple of years showing market hogs and a market goat. I then purchased my first market lamb and decided that I wanted to focus on sheep. I have participated in showmanship with my hogs, and market with goats and sheep. Although I get nervous before each class, I really do enjoy showmanship. Each time I go out there, I feel like I have improved and that drives me to continue working at getting better each time I go in the ring.
My love for raising and showing sheep has grown. As I started attending some local jackpot shows to show market lambs, I decided I wanted to have sheep year-round and now have a small breeding project including 5 ewes. I have been very lucky to work with a local breeder who has taught me so much about everything from raising my market lambs, showmanship and guided every step of the way with my breeding projects. I have much more to learn about raising and showing sheep, but I now get to share my experience with my brothers who are beginning to show as well.
Even though my middle brother shows pigs half the year, some of our family's best memories have been made in our barn. My Dad has had to build re-build and build bigger as our projects have grown. I have started beginning welding with him and learned to use the tractor with him. My brothers and I spend a lot of time not only working but playing in the barn. The whole family will come out and turn on the music and just work, hang out, and enjoy being together. It is our favorite place.
Since beginning my project at age 9, I have been able to attend the Porterville and Tulare
County Fair each year. I was very excited to have the Reserve Supreme Market Lamb at
Porterville last year and was Champion Sheep Showman in my FFA Division at Tulare Fair and
had the Reserve Supreme Breeding ewe. Most recently, I made the top 5 in the Intermediate
Sheep Showmanship class at the Harvest Moon show in Bakersfield.
An important lesson I have learned in showing livestock is that there is always more to learn, more to improve on. There is more to learn about showmanship, feeding, health, breeding and lambing. You can never stop learning or learn too much. This applies to everything in your life. Never stop learning or trying to improve.
After showing the last couple of years and becoming more involved in FFA, I am thinking about taking the path to become an agriculture teacher. I plan on becoming a member of the livestock judging team and hope to continue that into college.
One thing I would share with youth just starting out would be work hard but have fun doing it. Try not to be too hard on yourself, I struggle with this one myself. Enjoy it and make the memories.