|Showmanship Sweepstakes (08-05-13)|
|Written by Alex Aspacher|
|Monday, 05 August 2013 11:39|
The event, a sort of tournament of champions between the top winners in each of eight livestock competitions, required exhibitors to show seven animals - all except the one each proved they could excel at during fair week. SEE MORE PHOTOS
Contestants are ranked 1-7, with the goal of maintaining the lowest possible score by finishing near the top of each group - swine, rabbits, poultry, goats, sheep, horses and both dairy and beef cattle. Thus Limes, the beef champion, showed all the rest.
"It's kind of to see if you're able to learn the other animals, and who's the best overall showman of the fair," said Alex Dewitt, who judged the horse portion of the contest.
"They are very out of their comfort zone, and I give them a lot of credit for not only winning their showmanship during the week, but also being able to come here and show different animals. It's an honor to be in here."
So those used to shoving around large animals had to adjust to handling rabbits and chickens, while others with expertise in those areas tried to tame the bigger beasts. Judges asked questions about the breeds, watching for a showman's confidence and control of the animals.
There were missteps along the way. Rabbit champ Lauren Strow had trouble even getting her beef cow into the ring, as it tried to pull away before it even entered the pen. Strow held strong at first, but the aggravated animal later broke free and continued its tantrum and had to eventually be swapped out for another. Judge Scott Alexander said the outburst was out of Strow's control and did not count against her in the rankings.
Later on, the sheep expressed vocal displeasure with being held in place, with one shown by Lauren Nissen eventually wrestling loose, requiring others to help corral it again. No sooner did Nissen get the animal back in line for a judge's pass, it pulled free again.
Past experience in the contest made all the difference for Limes, 19, of Tontogany.
The overall champion said this was his fourth year competing in the sweepstakes. He took the title of reserve champion in 2012 and said he recalled things about the animals that put him in a better place to prepare for what he didn't remember.
"The experience really helped because you learn the animals you're not used to," said Limes, who has shown beef cattle, sheep and pigs.
"You still have some knowledge in your head about them, and you can work on the things you don't know and not worry about the things you already know."
Limes said he was dreading the horse and rabbit portions leading up to the contest. He had never done well with rabbits, he said, while horses can make for temperamental partners in the arena.
"Horses are just so skittish and not what I'm used to."
Spectators likely had no idea, as Limes took second in the horse exhibition and fourth during the rabbit portion. He ranked first in the goat, poultry and sheep categories, earning an overall low score of 14.
Reserve champion was Lucas Tuck with 18, who won the sheep competition earlier in the week.
Other final scores were Lane Kemner, 19; Nathan Spencer, 28; Nathan Morlock, 29; Alexis Miller, 36; and Nissen and Strow, both 40.
|Last Updated on Monday, 05 August 2013 12:49|
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