EATON — Caroline Vonderhaar was this year’s Grand Showman of Showmen at the Famous Preble County Fair.
The all species competition took place on Thursday, Aug. 2, only ending after the various species showmen had demonstrated their skills with all the animals exhibited at the fair — all but dogs, that is.
While the dog showman does compete in the competition, dogs are not shown. The showman has the opportunity to draw one species from a hat and that is the species he or she does not show. The other showmen are expected to show all animals except the one they won their own showman competitions for.
Once the fair begins, showmanship events begin. Once an exhibitor wins his or her age division and then their species as a whole, they start preparing to show the other species. Through friends, family, or 4-H Club, the kids start learning all they can about the other species.
“Everyone at our fair has to go through showmanship, it is required. Each species has their own way of doing things. Rabbit and chickens are more knowledge based, whereas the other animals are more handling based. Everyone goes through it in an age group and all of the winners will go for champion overall their species,” adult advisor Ashley Hartman explained.
“Once those showmen are named, they will have the chance to compete for Showman of Showmen. They don’t have to, but most of them do. If they choose not to do it, then the Reserve Showman will come up and compete for Grand Showman of Showmen.
“Grand Showman of Showmen is when they go around and have to learn every species from the day they are named Showman of their species. They have to figure out how you show all the animals. Whoever has the best score of the night wins Grand Showman of Showmen.”
This year’s Grand Showman of Showmen was Caroline Vonderhaar, who was the Beef Showman. She is a member of All Star Livestock 4-H Club and has been in 4-H for 11 years. She is the daughter of Rachael and Alan Vonderhaar and this was her last year of 4-H.
This is her second year competing in the Grand Showman of Showmen competition. This year, she scored 15 — the lowest score of the night. She got the most markups for goats (scoring a 5), while on horse, dairy, pigs, and sheep she only got one point against her. On rabbits and chickens she scored a three.
“I’m very shocked,” Caroline Vonderhaar said. “I was not expecting this. Last year I was in the Showman of Showman for beef and I studied so hard. I ended up second, so this year I was determined to try my best and study. It is very interesting learning about the other animals, since I don’t show most of them.
“The pig was the hardest for me to show. The pig did not want to cooperate and a close second was the dairy calf. I felt pretty nervous coming into the ring, but excited to compete. Winning this is so special to me, because i am the first in my family to win. It is pretty cool.”
Sheep Showman Cara Burton came in second with a score of 17. This was her second year competing for Grand Showman of Showmen. She is a member of All Star Livestock 4-H club and has been a member of 4-H for 11 years. This is her last year of 4-H. She is the daughter of Audrey and Bruce Burton. She scored a five on chickens, three on steer and dairy, two on pigs and horse, and ones on goats and rabbits.
The rabbit showman was Jenna Wilson who is a member of the Cottontail Express 4-H Club. She has been a member of 4-H for 11 years. She is the daughter of Deryl and Marilyn Wilson.
This year’s dog showman was Ashley Lake, who is a member of Tailwagger 4-H club. She has been a member of 4-H for four years. She is the daughter of Steve and Kathy Lake.
This year’s poultry showman was Lynlee Voge, who is a member of Spic ‘n’ Span Pots ‘n’ Pans and Tailwaggers 4-H Club. This is her second year competing for Grand Showman of Showmen. She has been a member of 4-H for six years. She is the daughter of Eric and Aleesha Voge.
The equine showman was Brooklyne Stewart. She is a member of Preble County Patriots 4-H Club and has been a member of 4-H for three years. She is the daughter of Carrie Stewart.
The dairy showman is Cooper Roell who is a member of Dixon Isreal Livestock 4-H Club. He has been a member of 4-H for five years. He is the son of Tim and Mandy Roell.
The swine showman was Mackenzie Neal, who is a member of Somers Super Beef 4-H Club and Twin Valley South MVCTC FFA Club. She has been a member for eight years. She is the daughter of Stacey Roell and Terry Neal.
The goat showman was Aaron Lake, who is a member of Tailwaggers 4-H Club. He has been a member of 4-H for 10 years. He is the son of Steve and Kathy Lake.
As for why the competition is important, Hartman said, “The kids have to learn how to communicate and how to learn something brand new. It is going to give them life lessons, because when you go out into the job market you never know what is going to happen and you get thrown into something brand new. This teaches them how to adapt very quickly and how to learn something to the best of their ability and show that.
“If you want to come and watch a good show, you come and watch this. You never know who is going to win it. Last year, we had a chicken kid win it and it was great for the small animal kids to win something. It is cool to watch how each kid handles each animals. A lot of them do it and adapt very well.”
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or onwitter @KKimbler_RH