|Practice pays off in showmanship|
|Written by MICHELLE REITER Sentinel Staff Writer|
|Tuesday, 07 August 2012 10:00|
"To get here means you're the best of the best," said Jayne Roth, 4-H extension educator. "It's a huge honor." PHOTO GALLERY
Winners of Sunday's honors were Grand Champion Dylan Jacobs, representing the poultry division, and Reserve Champion A.C. Limes, of the sheep division.
Jacobs' name will be emblazoned on a board in the Beef and Swine Show Arena.
Jacobs, 19, of Grand Rapids, and Limes, 18, of Bowling Green, were already winners by the time they hit the show ring Sunday after spending the week winning other showmanship competitions, as well as winning in previous years.
By the time they got to the sweepstakes, they were competing with other winners, Roth said, and the competition was serious.
Most of the kids showed in several divisions and they knew precisely when to move, for example, to the right of their sheep, or to the left of it, and when to nudge their goat's feet into alignment. As they show, the animals have to be "squared," which means all fours lined up.
The animals bleated, bahhhed, whinnied and oinked in protest, but the best handlers maneuvered the beasts with authority, showing confidence in his or her showmanship skills.
To win, Jacobs said, you have to know - and he means really know - what you are doing.
"It's just experience," Jacobs said. "This is my seventh year of dong this."
Showing poultry to the Judges requires that he knows the bird, knows how to handle the bird and knows about the bird. Showmen have to identify its parts and handle it with expertise.
For Limes, with his sheep, winning means excelling in all areas of showmanship.
"I always made sure the animal looked its best, and its feet were in the right place," he said.
Limes trained for two or three months before the fair. Like Jacobs, he said the key is familiarity.
"Most of the time, he said, it's a matter of being comfortable with the animal," he said.
Roth said the competition is friendly, but the participants are working hard to win, too. It means a lot to them, and they have worked hard.
"The cream comes to the top pretty easily in this competition," Roth said. "They have to have had a lot of preparation to get here."
Most have had a minimum of six or seven years of experience before they get to the sweepstakes, she said.
Contestants are also good at asking veteran showmen questions, she said; they get pointers to improve their game. It's what she calls "dong their homework," and it works.
Many contestants, like Jacobs, are in their last year of competing. Roth said Jacobs worked extra hard this year for Grand Champion, knowing he wouldn't come back.
Now, he will be able to take the memory of winning with him, and his name will be visible at the fairgrounds for his children to see one day, and maybe his grandchildren.
"That stays," Roth said. "That's forever."
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 August 2012 10:12|
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