It took a concerted effort, but in the end it paid off for Sydney Rathburn, who was named the 2014 All-Around Large Animal Showmanship Champion Friday afternoon at the LaGrange County 4-H Fair.
Rathburn bested the top showman from seven other categories, including 2013 champion Kyleigh North. North and Damon Hershberger tied for Reserve Champion Showmen.
Rathburn said she had been working with other 4-H’ers and their animals every day to learn how to show each animal. “The sheep were the most difficult,” Rathburn said. “You don’t have a halter with them and they jump and want to move around.”
This was Rathburn’s first time in the All-Around Showman competition, representing the Started Calf division. She is a member of the Stroh Straight Shooters 4-H Club.
“This is a highlight of the fair. I wanted this for so long,” she said.
Rathburn is the daughter of Randy and Rhonda Rathburn of Hudson. She has a younger sister, Olivia, who is also in 4-H. Sydney is 14 years old and will be a freshman at Prairie Heights High School. She participated in volleyball, basketball, and track at school. She participates in started calves, swine and numerous white building projects in 4-H.
She is also involved at the Indiana State Fair, where she has exhibited her swine and started calves. She has won showmanship for dairy beef in the junior and intermediate divisions.
Reserve Champion Damon Hershberger is the son of Gerald and Lynn Hershberger and was the top showman in goats. He is a graduate of Westview High School, where he was a member of the basketball and soccer teams, as well as FFA. He is a 10-year member in 4-H, showing calves, swine, and goats. His favorite project is showing swine.
He will be attending Black Hawk College this fall to major in agriculture production technology and crop protection.
Reserve Champion Khyleigh North is the daughter of Michael and Cheryl North and was the top showman in swine this year. She is a 10-year 4-H member of the South Milford Mighty Mites, where she participates in swine, sheep, beef, garden, foods, arts and crafts, gift wrapping, and microwave cooking.
This was North’s fourth year in the All-Around Large Animal Showmanship contest. This fall, she will be starting her freshman year at Purdue University. She plans to get a degree in agriculture economics and Youth Extension.
Other competitors in the 2014 All-Around Showmanship contest were:
Kyle Gage, representing the sheep show, is a Westview High School graduate. His parents are Philip and Elaine Gage. He is a 10-year 4-H member and has taken sheep and rabbits all 10 years.
Zach Green is the son of Anthony and Melody Green and represented the beef division. Green will be a 7th grader this fall at Lakeland Middle School. He shows both beef and swine at the fair and this was his second appearance in the All-Around Showmanship contest. He has also won the Reserve Grand Champion Chianina Showmanship at the Indiana State Fair.
Riley Lewis is the son of Brian and Debie Lewis and was the top showman in dairy. He graduated from Prairie Heights High School this year and is a 10-year 4-H member, showing Brown Swiss cattle all 10 years. Lewis plans to attend Purdue University before returning to the family farm.
Tailor VanWagner was the top draft horse showman and is the daughter of Jeff and Lori VanWagner. Tailor will be a junior at Prairie Heights High School this fall. This is her eight year in 4-H and the Draft Horse Club. She has participated in horse and pony, sheep, vet science, foods and llama at the fair. She also participates in FFA, scouts, soccer and softball.
Allison Young is the daughter of Alan and Jennifer Young and represented the Horse and Pony Club, where she has been a member for 10 years. She has also been involved in beef, dairy beef, started calf, swine and several exhibit building projects. She graduated from Prairie Heights High School and plans to attend Purdue University to major in interior design.