EATON — Alisha Rader was this year’s Grand Showman of Showmen at the Preble County Fair.
The all-species competition took place on Thursday, Aug. 1, 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 in which they won their own showman competitions.
Once the fair begins, showmanship events begin. Once an exhibitor wins his or her age division and then their species as a whole, they begin preparing to show the other species. Through friends, family, or 4-H Clubs, the kids start learning all they can about the other species.
It is required that everyone at the fair has to go through showmanship, but each species division has its own way of doing things. Rabbit and chickens are more knowledge-based, while the other animals are more hands-on. The exhibitors compete in their age groups and all winners then have to compete for champion of their species.
The champion has an opportunity to compete for Showman of Showmen, but if they choose not to, then the Reserve Showman competes for Grand Showman of Showmen.
This year’s competition was a little different. Rader did not win her species competition, but instead won Reserve Showman. Skyler Ward won three different showman competitions and had to choose which species to represent. For the species she didn’t choose, the Reserve Showman had the opportunity to compete in her place.
This year’s Grand Showman of Showmen, Rader, was the Sheep Reserve Showman. She is a member of Twin Creek Livestock 4-H Club and has been in 4-H for 13 years. She is the daughter of Kenny and Rebecca Rader and this was her last year of 4-H.
This is her third year competing in the Grand Showman of Showmen competition. This is also her last year in 4-H.
“I’m super happy, I really did not think this was possible, so I’m super excited. I actually got Reserve Showman for market lambs and then I was bumped up to the Showman of Showman Contest. It is really cool to win when you’ve been bumped up. I really wouldn’t have had the opportunity to, but I’ve been showing lambs since I was young — since my first year, and this is my last year. It is my passion and second nature to me, so I really love it,” she said.
“I studied the small animals a lot more than I have in the past. Showing previously, I learned that was my weakest point, so I really tried to focus on that. Also, really studying. I worked with my friends and fellow showmen to work with our animals. The biggest thing, for me, was having confidence. I went in with the attitude of, I’m here to show and I’m so lucky to even be in it and to have a chance at it.”
When asked what advice she would have for future competitors, she said, “Study, study, study. The more you study, the better chance you have with this. They want to know knowledge. Also, have confidence in yourself. Make sure that you go to the shows and watch what they’re doing — having that natural showmanship ability is something that will really help you. Going in with the attitude of positivity.”
This year’s Swine Showman was Skyler Ward, who is a member of Monroe Better Livestock and National Trail MVCTC FFA. She has been a member of 4-H for 10 years. She is the daughter of Chad and Mindy Ward.
This year’s Beef Reserve Showman was Mackenzie Neal, who is a member of Somers Super Beef and Twin Valley South MVCTC FFA Chapter. She has been a member of 4-H for 10 years. She is the daughter of Stacey Roell and Terry Neal.
This year’s Dog Showman was Ashley Lake, who is a member of Tailwaggers 4-H Club. She has been a member of 4-H for seven years.She is the daughter of Steve and Kathy Lake.
This year’s Rabbit Showman is Harlie Trupin, who is a member of Preble County Livestock 4-H Club. She has been a member of 4-H for nine years. She is the daughter of Rob and Candi Turpin and Wendy and Brent Buckley.
This year’s Horse Showman is Ashley O’Dell, who is a member of Boots, Chaps & Cowboy Hats 4-H Club. She has been a member of 4-H for nine years. She is the daughter of Troy and Tammy Killip.
This year’s Goat Showman is Makayla Morris, who is a member of Preble Shawnee FFA Chapter. She has been a member of FFA for six years. She is the daughter of Ben and Melissa Ballinger and Seth Morris.
This year’s Poultry Showman is Jake Beneke, who is a member of Boots, Chaps & Cowboy Hats 4-H Club. He has been a member of 4-H for six years. He is the son of Jamie and Dianna Beneke.
This year’s Dairy Cattle Showman is Paige House, who is a member of Dixen Israel Livestock 4-H Club. She has been a member of 4-H for five years. She is the daughter of Chip House and Melissa Hudeson.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimblr_RH