Ask Lyla Sherman to sum up last week's Delaware County Spring Livestock Show, and she simply says it was a good show.
Sherman, a junior at Jay High School, won the 29th Ben Netherton Premiere Exhibitor honors at the 2019 show.
The award, honors Dr. Ben Netherton, a veterinarian in Jay and Grove. His accomplishments included helping to organize the spring show.
He also provided free or discounted services for students preparing for the spring show, to promote animal science and agriculture as well as encourage students, according to his daughter Ginnie Netherton Graham during the award's 25th anniversary.
The award developed as a way to honor a student's effort each year for showmanship, show preparation and animal placement.
"I'm really proud at how everything turned out," Sherman said. "I was really surprised about winning the showmanship. I thought Mia [McCool] had it. She's been my mentor for years. I was sure she was going to get it."
Sherman, the daughter of John and Christy Sherman, said she worked hard to prepare for this spring's shows.
She said she's grateful for her parents' help as she expanded beyond goats, to show beefmaster beef and sheep this spring.
While similar in size and showing skills, Sherman said learning to show sheep proved to have its challenges.
This was the first time beefmaster beef were shown at the show as a breed class.
"I wanted to challenge myself," Sherman said. "I do goats every year, and I'm used to it. I thought it would be fun to branch out and try something new.
"It's like wearing the same clothes every day. Sometimes you want to try something new."
Showing has taught Sherman patience.
"My motto on show day is different judge, different day," Sherman said. "One judge might like my weather over my doe. I also know my animals aren't going to act well every time in the arena."
Sherman said she's also had to learn patience in working with the different species. While her doe likes her "go in hard and fast" showmanship style, her lamb did not.
"I've had to learn to be slow and cautious with her," Sherman said. "One thing I'm known for is to get the animals set up quickly so I can watch the judge.
"But with her, I had to learn to be slow."
Wining the Netherton Award gave the Jay FFA member a boost of confidence.
"When you are in the show ring, you put yourself out for criticism," Sherman said. "It's one person's opinion, depending on how the judge does it.
"It's taught me to be tougher, and to be confident in myself."
Sherman said this show was hard, because it's one of the last times she'll be in the arena with McCool, Kalley Whitlock, Sellor Lane and Amaiya Bearpaw, all seniors.
"I love spending time with everyone," Sherman said. "Mia has been my mentor since I started showing.
"I watch her show, and she gives me pointers when I show. I help her, and she helps me and we both grow."
Watching previous Netherton winner Mattie Haynes return after graduation to the show ring as a mentor has given Sherman a new outlook for her future.
"It's nice to see her and realize I'm not done after I graduate," Sherman said. "I can come back. So many have given their time to me, I want to give back to others.
"I want to help kids who might not have the support at home I've had. I want to make a difference."
Sherman said taking part in the livestock show not only gives her a chance to work with younger students, but it provides a bridge to relationships with some of her grandparents' friends.
"It gives me something to talk about with them," Sherman said. I know them through my grandparents [Bob and Brownie Sherman], but this gives me a chance to talk with them."
Sherman said some of the adults who have helped her during her showing career include Charlotte and Billy Bergman, Brad and Suzie Wright, and Jennifer and Anthony Lawson. She also credits Ramie Lay, with Grove Eye Center, for purchasing her premium each year during the annual sale.
"That money helps you pay feed bills, or buy animals," Sherman said. "It gives you a cushion going into the next [show] year. It doesn't cover all the costs, but it definitely helps a lot."
Other honors Sherman has received this year include serving as a representative at the 2019 Oklahoma Girl State set to take place in May on the campus of Oklahoma University. She serves as the reporter for the Jay FFA chapter.
"So many good things are happening," Sherman said. "I'm very fortunate."
She wants younger showman to know good things can come from not so good days.
"I know on the bad days, good things happen," Sherman said with a laugh. "I was at the wash rack washing my goat [on Friday], and someone took my shampoo that gets all of the urine stains out of their fur.
"When I found it, it was almost gone. But even with that start, the it was still a good day."
This summer, Sherman plans to intern at the OSU Extension office. She hopes to work with other older exhibitors to develop a showmanship clinic to help provide tips for students as they prepare for the fall fair.
After she graduates in 2020, Sherman hopes to pursue a career in speech pathology. She also hopes to start breeding goats in the next year.
"I have a lot of grand champions ready to have babies," Sherman said.