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Oklahoma girl adapts wheelchair to sheep show ring

Shelby Frost, 11, raises sheeps and shows them at the Oklahoma Youth Expo.
By Nasreen Iqbal, Staff Writer Modified: March 21, 2014 at 4:00 pm •  Published: March 20, 2014

When she noticed that her inability to hold her sheep’s head up caused her to lose points during the competition three years ago, she adapted again by attaching a metal bracket to her wheelchair. A family friend custom-made the bracket to fit her wheelchair. The bracket adjusts to the sheep’s size and attaches to the animal with the help of a harness.

“Their heads kind of hung low when I first started,” Shelby said. “Now they they hold their heads up high.”

It’s a transition Shelby said she understands. There are times, she said, when she feels discouraged.

“At the shows, I don’t get looked at so much,” she said. “But sometimes I notice it at other places like at school.”

Focusing on the positive

Raising sheep keeps her busy, she said, and allows her to possess the attitude she prefers.

“It keeps me from focusing on the bad,” she said. “I prefer to look at the positive.

“When I first started showing, I was afraid people would stare at me. But now I know that it’s all about the sheep and how they look and how I present them,” she said.

The support the organization provides to all contestants is something Youth Expo Executive Director Tyler Norvell is proud of.

“For kids with disabilities, this is one place in life they can come and compete at the same level with their peers,” he said.

His wife, Beth Norvell, is president of Diamond Hats, an organization that supports Oklahoma’s women and girls involved in agriculture.

The organization recently raised money to buy Shelby a new wheelchair.

This year, with the help of her sheep Katy, she won eighth place out of 25 in showmanship at the Youth Expo. Her other sheep are Pistol Pete, Baby, CeCe and a fifth one she plans to name Diamond.