XENIA — Getting to the Showman of Showmen proved to be tougher than the actual competition for Sarah Harner.
The 2017 Xenia High School graduate left the Ohio State Fair in plenty of time for the 1 p.m. event Aug. 3. However on the way back it was mishap after mishap. First a construction detour. Then a low tire pressure sensor lit up and Harner had to drop her vehicle off to get a repair.
She arrived at the Greene County Fairgrounds 15 minutes before the show started but didn’t let that bother her. She scored 283 points and won after showing dairy cattle, beef cattle, hogs, horses, sheep and goats. She notched perfect 50s on the beef and sheep. Danielle Norman was second with 256 points.
“(I was) pretty stressed,” she said. “It was kind of wild. I had to get all my equipment together.”
Harner was third last year and made the effort to get from Columbus to Xenia because of the prestige that comes with being able to win the event.
During the Showman of Showmen, the contestants travel from barn to barn to show each species. With each species, the handlers participate in a real show, complete with formations and questions specific to each animal. To be eligible for the competition, contestants must have won a past senior showmanship event for one of these animals.
Scores for each event are added up, and the person with the the top score wins. The highest possible score is 300.
“It’s probably my favorite part of the fair,” she said. Harner normally shows beef cattle and has shown lambs before so most of the stops during the show took her out of her comfort zone.
“(I got) help from other 4-H members who know what they’re doing,” Harner said. “I was excited. I was confident.”
Norman was fourth last year and had a bad feeling as the event unfolded Thursday.
“I didn’t even think I’d place personally,” she said. “I felt like it went better last year.”
She received perfect scores on dairy cattle and horses. She normally shows goats, cattle and pigs.
“I went around and asked all the people … and got great advice from them,” she said.
Controlling the animals was the toughest part, Norman said.
“You have to hold their heads up, you just get so tired,” she said.
Older sister Grace Norman was third with 257 points. Mitchel Anderson (232) was fourth, followed by Kaden Cline (225). The other participants were Shana Lott, Dessie Shepard and Haley Partee.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.