By Melanie Yingst
For Miami Valley Today
TROY — Miami County Agricultural Society junior fair exhibitors shared the spotlight with others during the first “Time to Shine” event during the fair week.
The Time to Shine event paired exhibitors with special needs youth to capture the joy and smiles from onlookers on the arena sidelines. Children had the opportunity to show horses, hogs and lambs in front of judges, family and friends during the fair week. It was organized by Kathy Clark and Niki Luciano.
Braden and Gracelyn Cooper, 12, of Casstown, guided Mitchell Caven, 7, of Fletcher, through the show ring during the Time to Shine event on Aug. 15.
Braden said when they heard about the Time to Shine show, they thought of Mitchell and asked to participate in the special event.
“We thought it would be a lot of fun to volunteer our sheep for it and to be part of the show,” he said.
Gracelyn said another favorite part was seeing Mitchell get excited when he first met their lamb.
“We also thought it was fun to see him tell Bandman (that’s our lamb’s name) ‘no’ when he wasn’t cooperating,” she said.
The pair taught Mitchell how to walk with the lamb and how to move with “Bandman” around the show ring.
“It made us feel happy to see everyone out there having fun and smiling,” Gracelyn said.
“We definitely want to do it again! It made us happy seeing everyone have the chance to show a lamb. We want to give everyone an opportunity that might not otherwise,” Braden said.
Gracelyn said, “Just seeing everyone so happy to be out there. We were just so proud of Mitchell and all the other kids to get out there and try something new!”
Parents Anthony and Erin Cooper said it made them proud to see Gracely and Braden in the show ring “being part of something that is bigger than just showing sheep.”
“That is what 4-H is all about. Helping others. We couldn’t be happier that they were part of A Time To Shine,” Erin said.
Mitchell is the son of Clay Caven and Faith Weinert.
The Time to Shine event was held in the hog barn and horse arena during the county fair. It was organized by Kathy Clark and Niki Luciano.
The Time to Shine event paired youth with special needs and abilities with a 4-H exhibitor who serves as their guide in the show ring. Youth had the opportunity to show their animals, interact with judges and share what they learned with their families.