For the second year in a row, the winner of the Showman of Showmen was a member of the Kilbourne-based Scioto Dog Club.
Zak Beaver earned the bragging rights on Wednesday with a rescue dog named Pickles. Last year, Makenzie Levings won with a rabbit.
Beaver, from Columbus, told The Gazette he has spent nine years in 4-H, and this is the third time he’s qualified for the competition. At 19, this is his last-ever show. Pickles is actually his brother Nate’s dog, as his dog was injured and couldn’t compete. Beaver said his sister, Erin, also shows chickens. Erin, Nate and Zak’s parents are Sylvia and Alex Beaver.
“I like all of it,” Beaver said of the Showmen experience, saying he enjoyed studying about the animals before the event with his friends.
The results were as follows:
• 1st – Zak Beaver (dog)
• 2nd – Savannah Durheim (sheep)
• 3rd – Allie Beekman (feeder calf)
• 4th – Zack Wecker (poultry)
• 5th – Clara Thompson (alpaca)
• 6th – Logan Lucas (dairy goat)
• 7th – Cooper McGlothlin (dairy cattle)
• 8th – Sam Griffin (meat goat)
• 9th – Emma Carpenter (pygmy goat)
• 10th – Gabe McCaulla (steer)
Also competing were Will Ashton (rabbit), Gabe Swenderick (horse) and Emma Wheeler (swine).
Each of the competitors had won earlier Showman events to earn the right to compete in Showman of Showmen. Here’s how it works: The competitors stand next to their animals at the start, automatically receiving a score of 10. It is assumed they are an expert on their own animal. Next to each competitor is a judge, who stays with the animal.
An announcer tells the competitors to go clockwise to the next animal and judge. For the next five minutes, the judge asks them questions about the animal and asks them to handle or lead the animal around. One of the judges informed a contestant afterwards that he asked everyone identical questions. Each contestant gets a score from the judge, and they go on to the next animal and judge. This continues until they return to their own animal. At that point, the scores are tallied and ribbons are awarded.
Zack’s big sister Madelyn Wecker is in her second year of running a show “that pretty much runs itself.” One change, she said, was to spread out the arena more — the rabbit and chicken pens were tucked in a corner, so the other livestock had more room to roam as needed. The horse and dog are also outside the ring on opposite sides.
“Showmanship is about how well do you know your animals,” Wecker said. “It’s such a difficult event that winning is just an honor and it gives you a certain amount of notoriety.”
Assistant Editor Gary Budzak photographs and reports on stories in eastern Delaware County and surrounding areas.