Teen Shoots for the “Mooney” at YLS

Mooney hows off the leading technique that she and her lamb practiced for two months leading up to CCF.
Mooney shows off the leading technique that she and her lamb practiced for two months leading up to CCF.

Mooney shows off the leading technique that she and her lamb practiced for two months leading up to CCF.

Anabel Mooney, 12, said that she first laid eyes on her sheep Cookies ‘n Crème late this Spring, and since then has made daily efforts to prepare both herself and the animal for their trip to the Campbell County Fair (CCF).

Mooney will part ways with Cookies ‘n Crème, or Cookie for short, this Sunday at the Youth Livestock Sale (YLS). An event which she admitted usually feels bitter-sweet for her.

The teen said she worked to tame the lamb every day for at least two months leading up to the fair. Initially, Mooney focused on getting Cookie comfortable with wearing and being led by a halter, since she’ll be shown off that way during the sale.

“She was a little bit scared of me and the halter at first, but she warmed up real quick,” Mooney said during an interview Friday.

Knowing that a halter-broken lamb wasn’t enough to live up to the judges’ expectations in Thursday’s showmanship ring, Mooney continued with her daily training sessions until she could lead Cookie by her jaw to pose the lamb for audience members, judges and potential buyers without a halter or rope.

“Most lambs will run away from people no matter what,” Mooney said from inside Cookie’s temporary pen at the fairgrounds. “But Cookie’s a weirdo, she’ll walk straight up to anybody like ‘hey, you got food?’ I love it.”

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Though Mooney loves Cookie, as well as the four other lambs she’d sold previously during other annual YLS sales, she explained that owning the pet wasn’t her main motive for participating at the fair.

Rather, Mooney said she was saw CCF as an opportunity to turn her interests into a career someday by building credibility and saving up cash for college.

“I’m going to own a food truck,” Mooney said, confidently.

Mooney went on to say that she made this decision after attending Camp Master Chef, where she broadened her understanding of culinary arts and ultimately decided that it was the job of her dreams.

Mooney plans to attend the American Culinary Institute in Texas and already has allocated $100 of her YLS earnings to her growing college fund.

Currently, Mooney stars in a YouTube channel called The Culinary Kid, in which she provides cooking tutorials for various foods including homemade breads, pastas and tortillas.

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Mooney said she started the channel hoping to help the quarantined population fill their spare time by learning to make home-cooked meals.

“I want to help people cope with their boredom,” she said. “Plus, making the videos has kept me entertained, too.”

Mooney acknowledged that after Wyoming schools were closed per a decision made by the Wyoming Department of Education this spring, she felt as though COVID-19 had changed everything.

She went on to say that given the unexpected and unpredictable circumstances she’d seen recently, she was just glad to be showing her lamb at all this year.

“We didn’t know if the fair would happen at all, so I’m really just happy to be here.”

Sure, it’s disappointing to see that there wasn’t a huge carnival for the 100th year, she noted, but on the other hand, this gives them all something to look forward to next year.

Stay tuned.