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Sam Schmillen

We caught up with Mr. Sam Schmillen, exhibitor of the Reserve Grand Champion 4-H Market Lamb at the 2023 Iowa State Fair. Learn a little more about Sam below!

Age: 17

Grade: 11th – Remsen St. Mary’s HS

How do you stay focused on reaching your goal?
I think for our family it is easy to stay on point.  We start every year out with the goal of winning our State Fair. I’m 6 years into this so we know that every year the set we bring in will be different. Once we figure out what we have in our barn we put together a game plan tailored to them. The biggest key is to stay consistent day in and day out.

Do you show any other species besides sheep? If so, what other species?
Nope, I only show sheep but I did enjoy helping my sister Brittney with her goat project this year! it was super exciting getting to watch her hang a banner her first year in the Goat Barn.

What’s your favorite show? and why?
I would probably have to say the NAILE in Louisville. This was my first big national show that I ever attended when I was 10 years old, then the next year I was fortunate enough to get a piece of it… about a great way to get hooked on showing lambs!!

What do you do to celebrate after a big win?
A large steak is always in the works to celebrate a big win…..if there is a Texas Roadhouse in town we are headed that way.

What has showing livestock taught you?
Results are a direct result of effort. If you aren’t willing to put the hours in to achieve a goal than you probably won’t get to that point. My parents have always had the philosophy that the differences in life have slim margins…..and that the deciding factor is your ability to outwork everyone else.

What’s your biggest dream?
I’ve been fortunate enough to get a piece of Louisville and Arizona and I’ve come close at Kansas City. My dream with only a few years left is to make a hard run and put myself in the winners circle at some of these Fall Majors before my career is complete.

What’s your lambs name? and what made him/her so special?
Duke was purchased from Rule Sheep Co. I thought we had one that was up and out in terms of design but still super wide from behind. Those ones are hard to make, typically sheep with his outline are narrower made and for him to still have that much muscle made him very unique.

Who do you look up to?
There’s lots of people in the industry that have helped us out along the way but when it comes down to it my family has always had my back in the show barn. Our family is involved in not only showing but also with sports….the barn is a team environment, and we all have a roll that we play. Not one of us could be successful without the help of the other teammates. My parents are always preaching that you have to learn from every win and every loss in order to adapt and move forward. I feel like we have surrounded ourselves with teammates that not only want me to get better but will push and help to get better.