Levings claims top showman honors at Delaware County Junior Fair


The Supreme Showman contest may not attract the most fans, but it may be the most interesting event at the Delaware County Junior Fair.

During the contest, spectators can see many of the animals that are shown during the fair, together with their handlers in one building. And instead of the animal being judged, it’s the young person who is tested.

Here’s how it works: Each competitor stands with their animal and a judge at the beginning of the event, and after five minutes, they move over clockwise to the next animal and judge. Each judge asks the competitor the same questions about the animal and depending on the type of animal, walk them around. Sometimes the young person will be asked to identify a part of the animal like the hoof. The judge gives each contestant a score based on the answers and handling ability, with 10 being the best. The rotation process continues until the contestant is back at their animal. The scores are tallied, and the winners are named.

For the observer, it’s interesting to see how each contestant handles the different animals. Each person has had different experiences and exposure with the various animals. Some appear to be more confident than others, but that doesn’t necessarily get reflected in their score. The judges, often former showmen themselves, shared light banter with the young people to fill the time before they had to move on.

What’s also remarkable is how calm most of the animals are in the ring. This year, the pig tried to get out of its enclosure, but the judge helped keep it contained while the other animals paid it no mind.

Another thing that’s fun is that many in attendance are families of the contestants, which includes future sibling competitors. Spectators can hear parents tell the youngsters to pick up tips and listen for the judges’ questions. The Supreme Showman contest is an event in which doing research helps and sharing information with fellow contestants is common and encouraged. It’s truly a friendly competition.

This year, the results, in order from first to tenth, were Makenzie Levings (rabbit), Paige Garrett (market goat), Allie Beekman (steer), Natalie Hohman (pygmy goat), Clara Thompson (alpaca), Camden Stephens (lamb), Cooper McGlothlin (dairy), Zack Wecker (chicken), Logan Lucas (dairy goat) and Hannah Rhoades (feeder).

Also competing were Eiley Clark (western horse), Gabby Stahl (dog) and Brody Wheeler (hog).

Madelyn Wecker, Showman of Showmen Champion in 2016, was back at the fair this year to run the event, which was held in the Show Arena. Plans were already being made to make the ring bigger next year so there would be more room between the animals.

Levings, who jumped up and down in excitement and surprise after hearing she won, said she was competing for the final time and just for fun. The Delaware resident and dog trainer said she will return to the fair next year as an advisor for the Scioto Dog Club.


By Gary Budzak

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Gary Budzak covers the eastern half of Delaware County. He may be reached at the above email address or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.

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