GREENVILLE — Cole Spitler was declared Darke County Junior Fair’s Showman of Showmen Friday evening.
Spitler, representing the Dairy Goats department, competed with eight other Junior Fair exhibitors, including:
- Trenton Prashun, representing boer goats
- Taryn Dohme, representing horses
- Harley Hanes, representing sheep
- Luke Brinksneader, representing beef cattle
- Naomi Hathaway, representing dogs
- Dalton Hesson, representing rabbits
- Landen Gower, representing poultry
- Zachary Smith, representing swine
- and Carrie Rhoades, representing dairy cattle.
Each of the nine competitors had previously won first-place showmanship trophies in their respective departments.
The Showman of Showmen competition began Thursday in the Swine Barn where the exhibitors were randomly matched with animals and judged on their skill at working with the unfamiliar species. The event resumed Friday at noon with a throng of judges and spectators following the exhibitors from the Horse Arena on the south side of the county fairgrounds to the Cattle Show Arena and others on the northwest side.
“This is probably the most competitive group of kids we’ve had in a long time,” one judge told the audience during the cattle show portion of the competition. “They’ve done a phenomenal job.”
As in other portions of the event, the exhibitors switched animals partway through the cattle show.
“Some of these animals are a little antsier being out here than others,” the judge said. “So we just want to make sure we give everyone a fair chance.”
Another judge said the most important elements of cattle showmanship are to maintain eye contact with judges, pay attention to the animal in front of you (to avoid collisions) and pay attention to your own animal.
The competition then moved to the Poultry Barn where Brittany Harrod of Ansonia, a 4-H veteran with eight years of experience as an exhibitor and two years as an advisor, judged the kids on their handling of the birds, as well as asking each of them a series of questions.
The action then moved to the Rabbit Barn and, finally, to a large outdoor tent, where the sheep and goat portions of the competition took place. Winners were announced at approximately 6 p.m. with Spitler coming in first place, Prashuhn winning second, Dohme taking third, Hesson fourth and Hanes and Brinksneader tying for fifth place.