This edition of A Few Minutes is with Clint Cummings, the market lamb judge of this 4th of July weekend’s show Belt Buckle Bonanza. He currently lives in California with his family. Clint and his family enjoys raising sheep, showing lambs, and spending time in the barn. Enjoy reading our candid interview with Mr. Clint Cummings!
What is your background and current involvement in the sheep industry?
I grew up on a small family farm in a rural community, Paso Robles CA. My father was an Ag teacher in the local community and as a family we raised hogs and sheep. I was involved in the 4-H and FFA.
How does your current operation effect what you look for when evaluating sheep?
Our current operation gets me involved with our kids show projects, the time, commitment and dedication put into the show animals is hours upon hours. Point being, the more time in the barn the more you learn. As I get older I realize how much I don’t know. It’s amazing when you’re young and successful in the livestock judging circle how much confidence it builds (which is a good thing), but age can make you wiser and realize what’s really important. I now see life through a bigger door.
What person/people influenced or helped to shape your view on what the ideal sheep should possess?
My father Bob Cummings has influenced me the most. He always talked about livestock from a skeletal, structural and dimensional standpoint.
Where did you attend college and did you judge while in college?
I attended MJC and OSU and I judged for both schools.
What are your initial sorts when evaluating market lambs?
I don’t really have any initial sorts. I just study them from a skeletal, structural and dimensional standpoint.
When you get down to those top end lambs, what separates them for you?
Same answer as the previous question, I just look for livestock that are built right. I have a simple formula that I go by, 1+1+1=3. Skeletal + Structural + Dimensional = Composition. A lot of a judge’s decision depends on what walks into the ring. You can have all the ideals in the world but if you can’t find them you still have to sort them.
What would you consider an acceptable fat range for a July jackpot?
Depends on weight and skeletal maturity.
Who are some people that you credit with helping you get to where you are today?
Gosh, there’s so many that have helped me along the way and it depends on what you’re talking about, business, being a good dad, etc. But, if I had to narrow it down from a judging standpoint I would say my father, Kim Brock, and Larry Shell.
What’s the best market lamb you have ever seen?
The best jackpot sheep I ever judged was the Grand Day 1 at the Buckle in 1999. The best market lamb would have to be the Grand at Fort Worth in 2004 (pictured above). The Grand lamb in 2005 at the Royal hit me hard as well.
Who’s the person you most like to sit down and watch judge?
Tough question, I used to watch a lot of shows when I was younger and had admiration for all of them. If I had to come up with names it would be Kim Brock, Howard Parrish and Al Snedegar. Kim is very articulate in his reasoning, Mr. Parrish makes a living in the livestock business and Al keeps things in the middle – has a lot of fun and gets the big picture.
What do you think is the most important issue facing the sheep industry?
Public awareness – educating the general public on what we do. I can’t think of another activity where young people actually feed their community.
Who is your favorite sports team?
I love high school football! One of my goals is to watch a Permian, Midland football game and meet Boobie Miles. Go Mojo!
What’s your biggest pet peeve in the showring?
Lazy ring help that are on the clock.
Do you consider yourself more of a handle judge or a profile judge?
Neither, I just study them.
Thank you so much for your time Mr. Cummings!