We caught up with Ms. Sheridan Hank, exhibitor of the Reserve Grand Champion Market Lamb at the 2023 Illinois State Fair. Learn a little more about Sheridan below!
Grade: Senior at Iowa State University
How do you stay focused on reaching your goal?
Tenacity is a skill that I think farm kids naturally have to develop…you’re raised that way; with a strong work ethic. Plus I like to focus on the meaning of this quote – “a winning attitude allows you to work on the things you can control.” – Germany Kent
Do you show any other species besides sheep? If so, what other species?
I grew up showing cattle and then started showing sheep about four years ago.
What’s your favorite show? and why?
I’m pretty biased when it comes to the Illinois State Fair…I’ve made so many good memories there. Louisville, of course, is special. But I did have an opportunity to show at Arizona Nationals in Phoenix, and – minus the 24-hour drive – that show was one of the coolest experiences I’ve had!
What do you do to celebrate after a big win?
This question sure makes me wish we did something special to celebrate (LOL) but really, we just keep caring for the lambs, washing legs, the same old routine.
What has showing livestock taught you?
Naturally, every livestock kid learns the physical hard work, the dedication and time it takes to show livestock competitively. But I believe that mental resilience is just as, if not more, important. I’ll admit, it’s easy to get frustrated in the barn or at shows, so being mentally tough is a valuable skill that gives you an advantage – not only in the livestock world but in the adult world too.
What’s your biggest dream?
My biggest dream is to give back to the livestock industry what it gave me. I’d like to financially be able to stay involved in the junior show circles and help other kids reach their goals.
What’s your lambs name? and what made him/her so special?
I had two special sheep at the Illinois State Fair this year – the Reserve Grand Champion was my Champion Hamp and the 3rd Overall Market Lamb was my Champion Crossbred. Both of these sheep – Squirt and Bobby – will always hold a special place in my heart and are probably the sweetest and most cooperative sheep I’ve ever shown. It was pretty special for my last show to be so successful but even cooler that I did it with these two lambs.
Who do you look up to?
I credit all of my success to Zach Stuaan and Nate Brookshire. They are my biggest critics, but more importantly, my biggest cheerleaders. Zach initially introduced me to showing sheep and has been my side to the end. I’ve learned so much about sheep and what it takes to compete at a high level – including the physical and mental perseverance it takes to succeed. Both Zach and Nate have dedicated so much of their time to helping me, and I’ll forever be grateful for them. And a big thanks to the livestock industry as a whole – the organizations and people – that go to the moon and back to support the youth growing up in the best way possible…showing livestock!