THOMASVILLE -- Thomas County 4-Her Ben Winter won't be showing his lamb this year, but he has found a way to contribute to the success of the club's local livestock program.

Winter, 16, chose not to participate in the event due to time constraints. It will be the first year he has not shown a lamb since he was five years old. However, despite his busy schedule, the Thomas County Central junior makes time to help younger 4-Hers train their lambs once a week.

"I've been showing since I was in kindergarten, and whenever I was coming up, all the older people would help me," Winter said. "Now I'm helping the younger ones. That's how you learn how to do it."

Winter shows steers, hogs and heifers. He also has classwork, other clubs and activities and an after-school job to tend to. What little spare time he has is spent teaching youngsters the finer points of showing lambs, such as "bracing," a show technique used to display the animal's best features.

Robin Nelson of Pavo, who works with local livestock teams, enlisted Winter to help her three children, Hunter, Hayes and Hope, get their lambs ready for competitions.

"This is Hope and Hayes' first year. Ben has done this for so long and done so well with it, he's the guy we knew we needed to get to help them," she said. "They listen to him because they see him do it, and they know how good he is at it. They're much more willing to listen to him than they are mama or daddy on the sideline."

Winter usually schedules practice time with the Nelson kids, but he has been known to unexpectedly drop in on the youngsters to make sure they're keeping up their training.

Last year, Hope Nelson participated in pee-wee livestock shows in which someone else helped her with her animal in the ring. This year, with Winter's help, she will show her lamb, Jenny, on her own.

"He's teaching me how to brace her, and how to do good at the shows," Hope said.

Hayes Nelson also participated in pee-wee events last year, but will show his lamb, Kid Muscle, solo this year.

"Ben makes it a lot easier. He breaks it down into steps," Hayes said.

Winter has won numerous showmanship awards, competing with other 4-Hers from across the state. He hopes the younger 4-Hers he teaches will have similar success. "I hope they'll be good at it," he said.

The Nelsons will compete at the University of Georgia's Block and Bridle livestock show on Aug. 20.

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