We caught up with market lamb judge Pete Dempsey before he steps “Inside the Ring” at the Tennessee Junior Livestock show. We invite you to read our candid interview with Pete 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?
I attended and was a member of the Livestock Judging Team at both Connors State College and Oklahoma State University. After graduation I spent two years in Rhea County, Tennessee as a 4-H agent and the past 22 years I have been an Agricultural Education Teacher and FFA Advisor in southwest Oklahoma and am currently teaching at Cache Public Schools.
WHAT PERSON/PEOPLE INFLUENCED OR HELPED TO SHAPE YOUR VIEW ON WHAT THE IDEAL SHEEP SHOULD POSSESS?
My FFA Advisor from Lawton, Oklahoma, the late Jeff Miller, took me under his wing when I was in junior high and greatly influenced who I am today. I was fortunate to be a member of the National Champion FFA Livestock Judging team that he coached in 1991.
Another influence has been JB Massey. I have had the opportunity to travel with him the last 10-15 years each summer helping him with many of his sheep and goat clinics.
WHAT ARE YOUR INITIAL SORTS WHEN EVALUATING MARKET LAMBS?
Of course muscle being a market show, but in todays time it is easy to find sheep with muscle. From there, I want a well balanced animal that looks good from the side as well as in motion. Those will normally catch my attention as soon as they steep foot in the ring.
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 an elite animal will separate itself regardless of weight.
WHAT’S THE BEST MARKET LAMB THAT YOU HAVE EVER SEEN OR JUDGED?
That is a tough question. It seems every year livestock gets better and better. I had the opportunity to judge several elite lambs last several years across the country.
I know it’s not a lamb. But the animal that has hit me the hardest when I judged was at a jackpot in Hobart, Oklahoma in 2013. It was Destinee Johnson’s goat that won OYE about two months later.
WHAT DO YOU THINK THE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE FACING THE LAMB INDUSTRY TODAY?
As far as the show industry, we need to continue to promote the 4-H and FFA Livestock programs so that we don’t lose numbers.
WHAT’S YOUR BIGGEST PET PEEVE IN THE SHOW RING?
I don’t see it often but poor sportsmanship or poor attitudes.
IF YOU HAD THE CHANCE TO PICK THE SHOW YOU WOULD LOVE TO JUDGE, WHAT SHOW WOULD THAT BE?
The National Western in Denver. I just love the atmosphere in Denver.
WHAT’S SOMETHING YOU ENJOY DOING THAT DOESN’T INVOLVE LIVESTOCK?
My wife and I enjoy going to Oklahoma State Games, listening to live music, and traveling.
YOU’VE GOT ONE NIGHT TO GO ANYWHERE IN THE COUNTRY AND WATCH ONE BAND, WHERE IS IT AND WHO YOU WATCHING?
The Great Divide in Stillwater, Oklahoma or George Strait at Houston.