She's a sheep show sensationAug 5, 2016 By Daniel Bendtsen, Staff Writer
Mady Dolcater won fair's top prize with 'substitute' animal
If anyone at the Fremont County Fair could be considered a prodigy of sheep showing, it's Mady Dolcater.
Though the 16-year-old from Riverton has shown pigs for seven years, she never tried sheep until last year.
At the 2015 fair, she won grand champion in the senior sheep category.
She beat out 13 others this year to repeat as champion, and it wasn't even with the sheep she had planned to show.
The judge, Montana man Russell Dietz, picked out one of her smaller sheep, Leanne, the day before the competition.
"We didn't think she was big enough," Dolcater said.
Despite her success, she said showing sheep is a lot harder than showing pigs.
"You have to work with them a lot more," she said.
But it's better than her first option, she added.
"I showed goats and hated it," Dolcater said. "They don't learn. You just choke them around."
Dolcater has been showing sheep for just two seasons now, but she's gotten a lot of experience.
She picks out a set of sheep in April and shows them until the end of August. This year, she participated in shows in Denver and Billings.
Before showings, Dolcater trains her sheep by walking them for 15 to 30 minutes each. She gets them moving on a treadmill: The front legs stay sedentary on a board up front while the back legs walk on the back, as wide hips and narrow shoulders generally get favorable attention from judges.
Sometimes, getting the right sheep takes the Dolcaters across the county.
Leanne was one of those animals that are worth a long trip.
"We drove all the way down to Texas to pick her up - 13 hours in the truck," Dolcater said.
Despite Leanne's small size, Dolcater said the animal has a "real cool" frame and muscle structure.
"You know when you see a good sheep," she said.