EATON — This year, at the Preble County Fair, Skyler Ward won Grand Showman for three different species: Sheep, Swine, and Beef. Before this year, Ward had never won a showmanship before, but in one year, she wins three.
“I was very nervous for all of them, but I prepared at home by working on them every day, day in and day out, training them, preparing for fair, and taking them to different shows,” Ward said. “I was very excited [to win the three showmanships].
“I was running back and forth between the sheep and pig barn. When I won the sheep I was really thrilled because I won two, and then I win for overall in pigs and when he picked me I was over excited. I have never won a species or anything like that before, and I usually don’t make it out of my age group.”
In the history of the Preble County Fair, no one else has ever won three showmanships in the same year. Ward said her family is excited and proud she is making Preble County history.
She did get the opportunity to compete in the Showman of Showmen Competition. Ward had to choose one animal to represent and chose to compete as the Swine Showman. This meant the Reserve Showman of Sheep and Beef got to compete in the Showman of Showmen competition.
Reserve Sheep Showman Alisha Rader ended up winning the competition.
Ward has been showing cattle and pigs for 10-11 years, while she has only been showing sheep for two years. She still has three more years in 4-H to keep competing.
“It feels really good and gives me hope to win [showmanship] again next year,” she said. “Next year, I’m going to work harder so I can do it again and push myself to replicate it.
“I’m disappointed, of course, that [I didn’t win Showman of Showmen]. I’m happy, because it was my first year and I learned. I’m not too disappointed, but next year I’m going to try harder and study more. I got the nerves out of the way, so next year I’m hoping to compete a little harder.”
While Ward spends a lot of time raising three different species, she is also an accomplished athlete. She plays softball and basketball. When asked how she balances her time, Ward said her parents help her a lot.
“Whenever I’m with my sports, they’re at home helping, or they’re at the shows getting my animals ready and driving me back and forth, because I can’t drive yet. My family is definitely the biggest part,” she said.
She had the following advice for other exhibitors competing for Grand Showman, “Don’t be doubtful. You have a chance, no matter how many times you’ve lost before. You have to work hard at home, you can’t just walk in and win it.”
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH