NJAS showmanship, best of the best

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Farm Forum

The showmanship contest is one of the most highly anticipated events of the year for members of the National Junior Angus Association (NJAA). It’s an once-in-a-lifetime chance to represent their state as a top showman – just ask this year’s winner, Megan Collison, Rockwell City, Iowa, who won the top prize at the National Junior Angus Show (NJAS) in Indianapolis, Ind.

“I was shocked, I was not expecting it at all,” Collison says. “Especially when they were calling them in order, and then it was me! If you saw my face, it was pretty shocked.”

Forty-nine showmen displayed their skills during the 2014 NJAS in Indianapolis, Ind. After multiple preliminary heats and an intense final round, the top five showmen were selected.

The journey to earning one of the esteemed silver bowls, which are awarded to the top five showmen, begins in each contestant’s home state. Two juniors are selected to represent their state and can only compete in the contest once. The top showman is honored with the Dean Hurlbut award, named after the man who organized the first showmanship competition in Lexington, Ky.

“Ever since I was little and watching the showmanship contest, I always wanted to be out there, and I never imaged that I would get to be holding one of the silver bowls,” Collison says.

Three judges evaluated the juniors on their skills handling an animal they have never shown before, ability to follow instructions from the surrogate judge, and evidence of courtesy and sportsmanship in the ring.

Rounding out the top five were: second place — Calli Bayer, Ringle, Wis.; third place — Sam Wallace, Stotts City, Mo.; fourth place — Amy Dierberger, Madera, Calif.; and fifth place — Ben Kiner, Mendota, Ill.

As younger juniors look forward to their chance to compete in this prestigious event, they can take advice from one this year’s showmanship judges, Deanna Hofing.

“You have to have that presence and poise out there, even though you’re under pressure and maybe your animal is not working the way you wanted,” Hofing says. “It’s the ability to still present yourself professionally in a calm cool collected manner that sets you to the top.”

The remaining showmen of the top 15 were awarded Andis® clippers. They are:

Brandais Austrino, Dade City, Fla.; Leo Kruse, Rudd, Iowa; Taylor Adcock, Moweaqua, Ill.; Cody Theis, Leavenworth, Kan.; Elizabeth Otte, Saint Mary, Mo.; Justin Teeter, Mount Ulla, N.C.; Justine Nelson, Lincoln, Neb.; Cole Page, Kalama, Ore.; Megan Bradford, Waverly, Tenn.; and Jacob Steph, Tatum, Texas.

Five individuals did not qualify for the final round, but received honorable mention: Esther McCabe, Elk City, Kan.; Daniel McFarland, Keithville, La.; Cody Miller, Mount Olive, Miss.; Jenny Keyes, Springfield, Neb.; and Austin Cogle, Kearneysville, W.Va.