Family business produces champions
Show lambs are a great segue into the sheep industry for youth exhibitors, which is something Katherine and Braxton Olson know all about, as they have grown up in the showring.
Today, the pair of siblings who hail from Cheyenne own and operate a club lamb business, Little BO Sheep, alongside their parents Mike and Sheri.
Although both Braxton and Katherine are attending college away from home – Braxton is a senior at Oklahoma State University completing a degree in ag business and Katherine is a freshman at the University of Wyoming studying animal science with an emphasis in embryology – the family enjoys working together, creating memories and striving to improve their flock year after year.
The operation places a specific focus on raising muscular and structurally correct club lambs to provide customers with competitive market lambs at the local and national levels.
Little BO Sheep
The successful family business got its start when Braxton won a flock starter program from the Wyoming Wool Growers Association, which he added to a few ewes he had previously purchased from Allred-Elliott Sires, explained Sheri, the family matriarch.
She stated, “This was the start and the foundation of the flock we have today and the reason behind our name – Little Braxton Olson (BO) Sheep.”
The barns at Little BO Sheep are home to a genetically-sound flock, boasting some of the most sought after stud bucks in the country, as well as three Laramie County Fair Supreme Ram winners.
“Little BO Sheep has had much success, from class winners in Kansas City, Mo. and Louisville, Ky., to a sale qualifier at the National Western Stock Show in Denver,” Sheri stated.
A winning record
The Olson family’s biggest success came in 2020 when Katherine won the Wyoming State Fair (WSF) with a lamb her and Braxton picked out shortly after birth, Sheri explained.
“They both knew he was something special,” she commented. “That year was even more special, as it was right in the middle of COVID-19. Everything was being canceled, nothing felt good, and we were unsure if Wyoming would have a state fair.”
“But they did, and I remember it feeling so good. We were able to see our friends, walk the fairgrounds without masks, and it felt like the good, ole days,” Sheri added.
At the 2021 WSF, Katherine took home honors with the Reserve Champion Hampshire Lamb and Grand Champion Senior Showman.
In the same year, she also took home titles with the Third Overall Heavyweight Market Lamb at the Phillips County Showdown in Colorado, Reserve Champion Breeding Ewe at the Onyx and Gold Jackpot in Torrington and Reserve Champion Division One Lamb at the Oil City Jackpot in Casper.
Katherine recalled starting her lamb career as a clover bud and remembered her true fondness and passion for the livestock industry.
“I became involved with showing as soon as I was eligible to join a club,” she said. “I joined 4-H when I was eight years old and joined the Burns FFA during seventh grade.”
Braxton Olson stated, “My advice to kids just starting out is to stay motivated and work hard. One of my favorites quotes, and something my family says often in the barn is, ‘Luck is residue of hard work.’”
Today, Braxton and Katherine have a long list of distinguished titles representing their abilities and skills in and out of showring.
“My favorite part about raising sheep is seeing the lambs grow and mature from birth. It’s awesome to see something so meticulously planned out work the way you thought it would,” Olson concluded.
In raising some of the top-quality club lambs in the state, the operation has been invited to numerous sale events including the Dynamic Divas this spring in Kingfisher, Okla.
Melissa Anderson is the editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.