Colegrove top senior showman, Scottown youth takes junior showman honors

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 29, 2007

After four hours of handling various animals, Nathan Colegrove, Symmes Valley FFA, became the Senior Showman of Showmen for 2007 at the Lawrence County Junior Fair.

“Everything but rabbits and chickens, I thought I did pretty good on,” he said. “When you’re used to only showing steers all your life and then you show everything in one day, it gets pretty confusing.”

At the beginning of the competition, Megan Herrell carefully picked up a rabbit from inside a cage and lifted it out, gently sitting the rabbit on top of the cage.

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The judge, James Jordan, of Summerville, then began asking her questions — and the Senior Showman of Showman competition kicked off at the fair on Friday morning.

The top winners of each class, beef, steer, dairy goat, market goat, poultry, rabbit, sheep and swine competed to win the highest award of the week.

The students handled each of the animals, then Jordan carefully tested their knowledge of the animals.

Shea Roy, 15, of Chesapeake, owner of the white New Zealand rabbit used for the test, said the judge asks questions like “What can disqualify a rabbit?”

“They could have diseases like ear mites and they could have discolored toenails,” Roy said. “He might ask what kind of bugs can get into the fur that messes up the fur quality, and if it’s male or female and normal things a rabbit owner should know about their animal.”

Roy is on the Junior Fair Board and she has shown rabbits at the fair for four years.

In order to learn about all the animals, after a student wins showman in a class, then that student can go to different animal owners and find out more about the individual animals.

“They got to handle animals of each class and they cannot take the same animal that they brought,” said Tony Hatfield, of Waterloo. “They have to get a different one to show. That way they’ve never handled that animal before. It’s all first time on each animal.”

Some of the students had never handled animals other than their own, making the test that much harder with only a short time to learn.

Jordan said the students were a little more relaxed this year than last year for the competition.

“They were more consistent, however, they need to be a little more versed in more parts of the industry versus just showing the animal,” he said. “I was asking a lot of questions about rate of gain, breeds, parts of the animals, wholesale cuts. They need to know those things in order to be very competitive in showmanship classes.”

He also was watching to see how the students reacted to different situations he put them in.

Herrell had not handled chickens before and did not know all the parts of a chicken.

“I didn’t know very many of the different parts,” she said. “That didn’t turn out very well. But I don’t think I had the most cooperative chicken. It seemed pretty lazy when I got there.”

In the Junior Showman of Showmen competition, all the animals were in the arena at one time with a chicken, a rabbit, a lamb, a goat, a pig and a steer placed around the arena.

Each judge had five minutes to test each one of the students on their knowledge of the animals.

The students rotated from one animal to the next until they were all tested.

In the end, Scott Dial, of Scottown Farmers And Farmerettes 4-H Club, won the Junior Showman of Showmen award. This was his first year in 4-H to compete.

“It was really tough to get out there and I’m real excited to get this belt buckle and trophy,” Dial said.