Celebrating 50 years of showmanship

Farm Forum

Competing in the National Junior Angus Association’s (NJAA) showmanship contest at junior nationals is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to represent one’s state and join a prestigious group of national showmen. This year marked the 50th anniversary of the showmanship contest, and Courtney Younge of Iowa claimed top showman.

“Showmanship means so much to me,” Younge says. “I’ve been doing it ever since I was a little girl, and at my first nationals in Iowa, I sat and watched the showmanship contests and I was like, ‘I want to be in there one day.’ I didn’t care if I was in the top 15 or top five, but I knew I wanted to be wearing those black jeans and the white shirt.”

During the 2016 National Junior Angus Show (NJAS) in Grand Island, Neb., 51 junior members competed for the title of champion showman. The preliminary round consisted of four heats on Thursday, July 7, where the top 15 showmen were selected. The finalists competed Saturday, July 9, to be considered among the top five.

The journey to earning one of the coveted silver bowls, which are awarded to the top five showmen, begins in each contestant’s home state, where two juniors are selected as representatives. The top showman at the NJAS is honored with the Dean Hurlbut Award, named after the man who organized the first showmanship competition in July 1967 in Lexington, Ky.

“It’s been quite an honor to see it last this long,” Hurlbut says. “To see the smiles on the faces of not only the participants, but their parents; this is important to them. Not much has changed throughout the years.”

Three judges evaluated the juniors on their skills while handling an animal, their ability to follow instructions, and evidence of courtesy and sportsmanship in the showring. This year’s showmanship judges were Doug Satree, Montague, Texas; Jennifer Carrico, Redfield, Iowa; and Colt Keffer, Fort Collins, Colo.

Following Younge in the top five were second place, Macy Perry, Prather, Calif.; third place, John Knight, Montpelier Station, Va.; fourth place, Braden Henricks, Anadarko, Okla.; and fifth place, Chase Anderson, Chrisman, Ill.

As younger juniors watch these top showmen, Younge offers this advice: “Find a mentor, find a really good showman you think shows really well, watch them and learn from them. Keep working hard, ask lots of questions and keep working at your showmanship every day.”

The National Junior Angus Showmanship Contest brings together the breed’s top young showmen and it is considered an honor to be among those competing.

The top 15 showmen who were awarded a pair of Andis clippers were: Peyton Mattox, Lexington, Ga.; Abby Collison, Rockwell City, Iowa; Gracia Ramp, Yates City, Ill.; Taylor Nikkel, Maple Hill, Kan.; Leslie Craig, Harrodsburg, Ky.; Lauren Schur, Sabillasville, Md.; Jorli Hauge, Winona, Minn.; Savannah Schafer, Nehawka, Neb.; Michelle Bockelman, Napoleon, Ohio; and Haley Herzog, Robinson, Texas.

Those receiving honorable mentions were: Reid McGuire, Waverly, Ala.; Haley Throne, Lexington, Ga.; Cheyenne Jones, Franklinton, La.; Matthew Antonio, Hydes, Md.; and Wesly Johnson, Pipestone, Minn.

Additional NJAS contest placings, awards and scholarships can be found on Coverage is also available on Backdrop and candid photos, provided by Pearls Pics and Angus Media, are available for purchase online.