Top showmen compete for senior, junior titles

Published 12:05 am Sunday, July 17, 2016

ROME TOWNSHIP — The best of the best went head to head Friday in the senior and junior showman of showmen competitions at the Lawrence county fair.

Six senior competitors, each one already a winner in their respective market animal categories, showed of their breadth of knowledge of chickens, rabbits, lambs, goats, hogs and steers.

Each competitor took turns in the arena showing and answering questions for the judge about rabbits and chickens, followed by a full showmanship routine for each of the larger animals.

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Kayla Nickolson, of Athens, was this year’s judge.

“I was really impressed by how everyone did,” she said.

She had all six seniors introduce themselves to the crowd and tell why showmanship is important.

For Levi Cade, he said it was about having knowledge of your animal so you can properly present it to a judge.

“It’s all about making your animal look good,” he said.

The judge must have agreed, because Cade took the first place trophy.

Cade qualified for the competition by placing first in lamb showmanship on Tuesday.

“I’m pretty happy with myself,” Cade said. “I’m surprised I won. The judge asked some hard questions.”

Cade said every judge is different and it’s hard to know exactly how they will test each competitor’s knowledge.

The junior showman of showmen competition was slightly different. Each competitor spent five minutes with a judge that was stationed at each of the different livestock animals, then rotated until each junior had a turn testing his or her knowledge.

In the junior division, 11-year-old Tessa Shelton came out on top. Shelton earned her spot in the competition by coming in first in the chicken showmanship competition.

She smiled from ear to ear as friends and family congratulated her and snapped photos.

“I was very nervous,” she said following her win.

She said the hardest part of the competition was showing the chicken, because it was a different breed than the one she showed earlier in the week.

“I took silky chickens and they are much more different than market chickens,” she said.

Shelton said she was surprised to win, but it felt good.

“I’m happy, but also it’s sad,” she said. “All the ones older than me … they really tried.”