4-H’ers earn supreme showman titles

BROWNSTOWN — Thursday night was big for Brocker Bottorff and Anslee Hawkins, and Friday was even bigger.

Bottorff, 17, who lives in the Dudleytown area and is a senior at Brownstown Central High School, won master showman in the 4-H dairy goat show Thursday at the Jackson County Fair, putting him in Friday night’s Jackson County 4-H Supreme Showman competition for the second year in a row.

Hawkins, 12, who lives in Cortland and is a seventh-grader at Seymour Middle School, won champion junior showman and supreme showmanship in the 4-H beef cattle show Thursday night, qualifying her to compete in the Jackson County 4-H Junior Supreme Showman competition for the first time.

After showing a pig, a beef cow a sheep, a dairy beef cow, a Boer goat, a dairy cow and a dairy goat in front of a packed Show Arena 1, Bottorff and Hawkins were declared winners of their respective contests against five fellow 4-H’ers.

“It was just relaxing. It just hit me and I was like, ‘Wow!’” Bottorff said of hearing emcee Denise Stevens announce his name Friday night. “This means a lot to me. That means that I’ve been working very hard all summer and staying very calm and very collected with my animals.”

Hawkins was happy to hear her name, too.

“I was very excited,” she said, smiling. “I’ve set goals to make it this far, and I wanted to make it to master.”

This was the third Junior Supreme Showman competition and 15th Supreme Showman contest.

The younger 4-H’ers competed first Friday night. Joining Hawkins were Ashtyn Allman, Ben Klosterman, Sawyer Ritz, Will Hackman and Josie Thompson.

Given how she and her beef cow did Thursday night, Hawkins said she felt confident going into the big show.

“After I met all of my accomplishments that I wanted to, I felt like I met my goals that I wanted,” she said.

She also was familiar with showing sheep and pigs at the fair, so that helped.

“I just asked friends for their help,” she said of preparing for Junior Supreme Showman.

Obviously, she said beef cattle was the easiest to show.

“I just like beef. I’m used to it,” she said.

The most difficult? Definitely dairy cattle, she said.

“They just don’t want to cooperate,” Hawkins said, smiling. “Other animals, those are pretty good. The goats are a little difficult.”

In the show arena, she said she was focused on keeping eye contact with the judges, smiling and maintaining an “I can do it” attitude.

Winning the title was a good way to end her week at the fair, Hawkins said.

Bottorff was in a unique position since he had prior experience with Supreme Showman. The other contestants were Kelsey Wischmeier, Collin Downing, Izzy Stanfield, Mallory Klosterman and Charlie Hackman.

“From last year’s experience, I learned how to keep calm and how to control your animal,” he said. “I made sure that I had control of the animal and stayed very calm and made sure that I was very calm with my animal and not too rough with them.”

Taking the master showman title Thursday was special for Bottorff.

“I felt pretty proud,” he said. “It was a pretty intense showmanship. The reserve was just as good as what I was, and it was going neck and neck and it was going back and forth.”

Since he shows multiple animals at the fair, Bottorff had an advantage in preparing to show seven species.

“I don’t actually handle beef, so (Thursday), I got to handle one in the grand drive for a friend of mine, Izzy Stanfield. She let me handle one of hers, and so that helped me with beef,” he said.

“Then (Friday), I worked with dairy beef, and then I’m always used to handling my animals, so I went and worked with the Klosterman pigs, I had the Niermans help me with their dairy cattle and I worked with the Sporleders’ Boer goats,” he said.

Besides the opening test all competitors had to do, Bottorff said he wasn’t nervous.

“I was more calm, collected,” he said. “If I let myself get worked up, then it was going to transfer straight into the animal, and the animal would have been wild.”

Opening with swine, Bottorff said, “My pig, it didn’t do too bad, but it didn’t do good like I was hoping. I got drove straight to him, so that one was kind of rocky.”

He, however, transitioned nicely to beef cattle.

“I haven’t shown a beef better than that,” he said. “Both of mine were very, very good.”

Bottorff said he had a calm, collected sheep, but it liked to push a little bit harder than he was expecting, so he had to push back a little bit.

His dairy beef cow didn’t want to get its head up, so he worked on that and had to adjust to keep on moving it up.

Boer goats was the roughest part, he said.

“I had two of them, and the first one, it would sit there, but it kept on moving,” he said. “I went to the other one, and it just liked to flop all over the place and kept on wanting to check itself out.”

Fortunately, Bottorff had a very well-mannered dairy cow, and the dairy goat he showed set up pretty good.

Like Hawkins, Bottorff said winning the contest was a very good way to end the fair.

So what are his thoughts on a three-peat next summer in his last year in 4-H?

“Uh, possibly,” he said, smiling.