SIDNEY — Keighlynn, 13, and Carson Rickert, 10, showed their lambs at the Shelby County Fair with heavy hearts this year. The siblings, who are the children of Jessica and Shane Rickert, of Anna, lost their flock in a barn fire months earlier.
The Rickerts’ sheep had just begun lambing when the fire broke out in their barn Feb. 2. The flock was lost. Jessica Rickert said the fire was particularly hard on her daughter Keighlynn.
“That barn was her happy place,” Jessica said. “Not having that place to retreat to hasn’t been quite so easy for her.”
At first, they didn’t know if Keighlynn and Carson would be able to show lambs at this year’s fair. The community came together to help them out.
“Our church donated money to us so we could go out and buy lambs so we could be here,” Keighlynn said. On top of the First United Methodist Church in Sidney helping them buy their animals, they were given space in another family’s barn to keep them.
While most entrants had been with their lambs since January or February, Keighlynn and Carson weren’t able to get their sheep until April because of the fire.
“It was weird not having sheep for so long,” Keighlynn said.
The family’s previous flock had been bred by them for several years and were familiar with them. Getting new lambs meant that it was more difficult to get the animals used to being around them.
“We just continued to work with them,” Keighlynn said.
The Rickert family was meet with warm support when they faced adversity.
“Our family, friends, our church family, our 4-H family, they’ve all jumped in and asked where they could help,” Jessica said.
They’re hoping to rebuild the flock so that they can come back even stronger next year. The siblings have sent out letters to friends, family and businesses asking for their support during Saturday’s sale. The letter includes the option for “adding on” to a bid at the sale.
The writer is a summer intern at the Sidney Daily News.