Many counties have a 'round-robin' or 'supreme showmanship' contest in which the top showmen from each species compete by showing an animal from each species in a single evening. Our contest is named as a memorial to Tom Swain, who was a friend and supporter of 4-H in our community, and was killed in a car accident along with his two young sons. Last night marked the 40th year for the contest in Decatur County.
My throwback story goes back to 2004, when Jennifer competed in the contest for the second year. She earned a spot in the competition by being a first or second place winner in the expert division of the beef show. At that time, our show included the top two showmen in beef, swine, sheep, and dairy. Although Jennifer also showed horses, they are not included in the competition. Our county contest now includes goats as well.
Of the four species to be shown, Jennifer only showed beef, so she had to borrow an animal for each of the other species. It ends up being like a crash course in showing, as the exhibitors try to learn as much as they can about each species between the time that they qualify for the contest and the moment they step into the ring to compete. On a hot, hot evening, the 8 contestants started out by showing a pig.
Next up, beef cattle, and Jennifer was comfortable and happy to be showing her own animal. Jennifer always loved showmanship. Her love of animals, her confidence, and her ability to remain calm made her a good showman. She took it seriously, but with a smile on her face. (And it never hurts to smile at a judge.)
Exhibiting dairy requires that you walk slowly. And backwards. And there are questions.
Sometimes, the answers get a little creative. How much milk will she produce in a year? I think the judge must have been amused by her answer, and she joined him in sharing a chuckle. No need to tense up, just relax and have fun. :)
Whew! All finished, animals put away, and contestants back in the ring for the award presentation. Did I mention it was 100 degrees in there? Each exhibitor receives a medal, a shirt, and other mementos as a reward for their hard work. Then it's wait for the judge to announce the runner-up and the winner.
And a celebratory picture with the whole family. Now that's what I call a throwback!
P.S. Jessica is taking a summer break from the #TBTStories linkup, but I wanted to continue with the stories anyway. Hopefully she will bring it back in the fall. Which will be here before we know it!