XENIA — He decided he needed an edge in the show pen.
So Brandon Barr, 15, put on a black cowboy hat.
“I decided I wasn’t intense enough because of my light hair and fair complexion,” Barr said. “We decided to try that hat. It’s worked and I’ve done better.”
The hat — along with the teen’s hard work and showmanship skills — won him a second place spot in the finals of his division Aug. 3 at the market beef showmanship.
“It’s an extra bonus,” Barr said, after placing the hat carefully in a box, ready for the next show.
But he said there’s more to his success — and his calf’s success — than the accessory.
“I washed and dried her two times a day and kept her under fans all day to keep her cool,” Barr said. “I worked showmanship with her every day — walk around, set her up, work with her, calm her down.”
Proud Diva or “P.D.” — a purebred shorthorn — was born in April on a farm in Xenia.
But this wasn’t Barr and P.D.’s first show together. The two had competed in several other shows together this year, traveling to Kentucky, Oklahoma, and the Ohio State Fair.
“She’s done pretty well,” Barr said, adding that she was named reserve champion shorthorn heifer at one show.
And perhaps Barr’s successes won’t end with P.D.
According to Barr, she’s going to have a baby in May.
“I’m excited,” Barr said, adding that he will probably show the new calf, too.
During the Greene County Fair show, Barr and the other showmen listened to the judge and led their animals around the ring.
“My calf did really well. She was cooperative,” Barr said.
Although he said he was a little nervous, he said the whole experience was just plain fun.
Judge Levi Richards commented on the work of the showmen.
“I notice how smooth they are. They are dressed very professionally. And it is very important to me to have clean cattle out there,” he said as the contestants listened.
When Richards announced Barr as the second place showmen, he said the cowboy needed a little something extra, picking a feather off the ground and placing it in his hat.
Barr smiled and shook his hand as the audience clapped.
“That was kinda fun,” he said later, still smiling.