We caught up with market lamb judge Jordan Amburgey before he steps “Inside the Ring” at the National Western Stock Show. We invite you to read our candid interview with Jordan below and please continue to check back often for our next edition of “Inside the Ring.”
WHAT IS ONE THING THAT YOU LEARNED IN HIGH SCHOOL THAT HAS STUCK WITH YOU?
You’re a product of your circle. Keep it small, and surround yourself with those with the same ambitions as yourself. “Iron sharpens iron.”
WHAT IS ONE QUOTE THAT YOU LIVE BY?
“Be obsessed, or be average. Both is your choice.”
IF YOU COULD JUDGE ANY SHOW IN THE COUNTRY, WHAT SHOW WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
I’d be pretty silly to not act like the National Western Stock Show isn’t at the top of the bucket list. I’m very excited and anxious to get to Denver, Colorado.
BEFORE YOU GET READY TO JUDGE, DO YOU HAVE A ROUTINE THAT YOU LIKE TO FOLLOW?
Usually the night before, I try and find something popular in the area to eat. The morning of, I always check in at home to make sure the sheep are alive, & the girls keeping the ship afloat
DO YOU KNOW YOUR CHAMPION WHEN YOU SEE IT?
For me, those ones I consider “champions” stick out pretty quickly. However, I think it’s vital to stay on the grind as you never know what will walk in the ring next.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR FAMILY!
Maggie is our anchor, that keeps the ship from tipping over daily. Without her, that ship couldn’t survive much of a rain storm. Jaye, who just had her first birthday, is our world. She just started walking a little, which is fun to experience. Currently, her mother is her best friend, loves her green beans, playing with her basketball, wrestling baby lambs, & slapping me on the head.
WHAT IS YOUR DAILY OCCUPATION/DAILY ROUTINE LIKE?
I’m the Director of Sales & Marketing with Reproduction Specialty Group. Along with Maggie & Jaye, we also own and operate Amburgey Genetics raising show sheep. I’m very lucky to wake up and be involved within the industry on a daily basis.
LONG GRAND DRIVE SPEECHES VS A FEW WORDS
Short & Sweet
MUSIC ON DURING THE SHOW VS SILENCE?
Turn it up!
JUDGING ON DIRT VS WOODCHIPS
WHO GOT YOU INVOLVED IN THE LIVESTOCK INDUSTRY AND HOW?
My younger brother actually started showing sheep before me, so he gets that award for getting me involved. I began showing at our state fair around 11, and it’s been a wild journey since then.
WHAT IS A DREAM YOU HAVE ALWAYS WANTED TO ACCOMPLISH?
I always wanted have a family of own, raise sheep with Maggie & Jaye, and a career I love. Pretty simple, but I get to live that dream daily.
WHERE ARE YOU FROM AND WHAT BROUGHT YOU TO WHERE YOU CURRENTLY LIVE?
I’m from Mt. Sterling, Kentucky & I’m lucky enough to be able to raise my own family at the same place I was raised in. Currently, I’m the Director of Sales & Marketing for Reproduction Specialty Group, and work remotely.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SHEEP YOU’VE EVER SEEN?
In no certain order:
The eventual 2015 Ohio State Fair Grand shown by Bailee Amstutz, raised by Rule Sheep Company. I still think that one is very rare, even in today’s standards.
My 2015 Illinois State Fair Grand, shown by Trace Titus, and raised by Neff Livestock. I vividly remember how impactful that guy was moving around the ring that day.
Recently, my 2021 Oklahoma State Fair Grand, shown by Dylan Simpson, and raised by Begalka Livestock. That one still makes me nervous!
WHAT IS A PET PEEVE OF YOURS IN THE RING?
Without any hesitation, hideous amounts of flank wool and/or whatever the trend is that’s going on that makes the lambs look like they are wearing ear muffs.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE ROAD TRIP SNACK?
Coffee and pistachios are my go to.
SHOWING BY WEIGHTS OR BY BREEDS?
STATE FAIRS OR NATIONAL SHOWS?
EVALUATING STOCK ON THE MOVE OR ON THE PROFILE?
On the Move
We caught up with market lamb judge Jordan Amburgey before he steps “Inside the Ring” at LSU Spring Livestock Show. We invite you to read our candid interview with Jordan below and please continue to check back often for our next edition of “Inside the Ring.”
DO YOU HAVE A ROUTINE TO PREPARE YOU TO GET IN THE RING?
Maybe not an exact routine, but usually the night before I try and find something popular in the area to eat. The morning of, I always check in at home to make sure the girls aren’t lost at Target.
WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE GROWING UP?
197% I saw myself playing in the NBA.
IF YOU COULD BE ANY SUPERHERO WHO WOULD YOU BE?
Not much on fictional characters, but give me Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday on my team. I think we could not only fight crime, but we could get life’s issues resolved promptly.
IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT MOMENT WOULD IT BE?
I try to always keep looking forward, and refrain from looking back. However, I think any era where we don’t rely on social media to build and determine our network of people is the golden era.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUR YOUNGER SELF?
There’s a difference between your passion and your purpose, with the goal being to have both buckets full.
FAVORITE SONG ON ROAD TRIPS?
I’m pretty versatile when it comes to music, however with the new addition to the family I have learned to love quiet time.
DO YOU SMILE OR ARE YOU SERIOUS IN BACKDROPS?
I like to mix it up. Every backdrop moment is a happy one, but yet it represents a long process of important decisions. No matter how many backdrop pictures I get the opportunity to be in, I think the bigger issue is what to do with my hands. It’s always awkward every time, Ricky Bobby had the same issue too and I get it!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MOVIE OR TV SHOW?
Sports are always on at our house. My Wildcats are #5 in the country, and the Bengals are headed to the Super Bowl. Life is good!
We caught up with market lamb judge Jordan Amburgey before he steps “Inside the Ring” at the Exposition for the Youth of Oklahoma. We invite you to read our candid interview with Jordan below and please continue to check back often for our next edition of “Inside the Ring.”
WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND AND CURRENT INVOLVEMENT IN THE SHEEP INDUSTRY?
Much like the general population, I started out in the sheep industry showing competitively on the state and national levels. After concluding my 4-H and FFA showing career, I have transitioned over to the production side of things just outside of Lexington, Kentucky where I was born and raised. Along with my wife Maggie, we operate Amburgey Genetics focusing in on trying to raise competitive show stock.
WHAT PERSON/PEOPLE INFLUENCED OR HELPED TO SHAPE YOUR VIEW ON WHAT THE IDEAL SHEEP SHOULD POSSESS?
I can’t say that there is one individual that solely said ” Hey Jordan, this is what a show sheep needs to look like.” Instead, growing up and even today, I’ve always felt the need to act as a sponge and soak up as much knowledge and viewpoints from the people I respect in the industry. Somewhere between then and now, after many farm visits, phone calls, and watching folks I admire evaluate sheep, I’m pretty firm in my opinion of what an ideal sheep should possess. In addition, there are some people I’m fortunate to call my friends that have always encouraged me to be true to the kind I call ideal.
WHAT ARE YOUR INITIAL SORTS WHEN EVALUATING MARKET LAMBS?
I immediately want to study the lambs as they enter the ring and form my initial thought on their quality of skeleton, body shape, proportionality, as well as my first read on muscle and width. Muscle will always be a critical sort in market animals, but once they meet my threshold of acceptability, their ability to remain collected and handle their extreme attributes is a bigger virtue to me. I’m a firm believer that elite ones don’t all have to be cut from the same mold if we put an emphasis on skeletal quality and balance after checking the terminal boxes.
FOR AN AUGUST STATE FAIR, WHAT WOULD YOU CONSIDER AN ACCEPTABLE WEIGHT RANGE OR DOES IT MATTER THE SIZE IF ITS A GOOD ONE?
I think anytime that we place self-imposed limitations prior to a show on what they need to look like or weigh, as an evaluator you’re only setting yourself up for disappointment. That being said, obviously the 125-155 weight range would be stellar. However, if the elite one of the show comes in weighing 120 pounds or 165 pounds, then there’s no hesitation on my end whatsoever in using that elite one. Ultimately, if they show up and have four working legs and a heart-beat, they are weight-wise in contention to have a good day under me.
WHAT’S THE BEST MARKET LAMB THAT YOU HAVE EVER SEEN OR JUDGED?
Out of the ones I’ve physically seen in my lifetime, this was the list I came up with. It gave me a major headache trying to cut this list down to a couple of my clear favorites.
2005 Kentucky State Fair Grand shown by Donna Hancock
2006 Indiana State Fair Reserve Grand shown by Andrew Feller
2008 American Royal Grand shown by Jared Whitcomb
2008 Reserve Cross at NAILE shown by Cooper Newcomb
2012 Indiana State Fair Grand shown by Justin Willoughby
2013 Forth Worth Grand shown by Ross Hargrove
2015 Ohio State Fair Grand shown by Bailee Amstutz
2016 NAILE Grand shown by Zac Howell
WHAT DO YOU THINK THE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE FACING THE LAMB INDUSTRY TODAY?
From a commercial standpoint, and from the views of the show industry, I think the amount of involvement from the younger generation is a concern. I know looking around at national shows, even for my age group, I find it bothersome when we see the dwindling number of people remaining involved within the industry after their show careers conclude.
WHAT’S YOUR BIGGEST PET PEEVE IN THE SHOW RING?
I’m as guilty as any, but I think we all need to be gracious and thankful for the folks that make these shows happen. A simple “thank you” to a show manager or a volunteer can go a long way.
IF YOU HAD THE CHANCE TO PICK THE SHOW YOU WOULD LOVE TO JUDGE, WHAT SHOW WOULD THAT BE?
Obviously, being on the green chips of Louisville or Houston is bucket list items. However, the opportunity to judge the Indiana State Fair to me would be on an equivalent level. Growing up, I stood around the ring annually watching this show and I felt like it helped form my opinion of the kind I deem unique.
YOU’VE GOT ONE NIGHT TO GO ANYWHERE IN THE COUNTRY AND WATCH ONE BAND, WHERE IS IT AND WHO YOU WATCHING?
No need for a band, or a trip. Get me a good playlist on a phone, and around the people I enjoy and I’m in my element.
WHAT’S SOMETHING YOU ENJOY DOING THAT DOESN’T INVOLVE LIVESTOCK?
I do enjoy being on the lake and attending Kentucky basketball and football games with my wife. I also love playing golf whenever time allows.