MOUNT VERNON — Showing an animal at the fair is no small feat, but showing an animal that isn’t yours is a whole other story. The Knox County Junior Fair Showman of Showmen contest brings the star showmen together in one contest that brings all of them out of their comfort zone. The participants of the contest are skilled showmen, as they have to have been selected as master showman of their animal in order to compete.
The exhibitors have to show every species — small animals, swine, cattle, saddle and draft horses, goats, sheep, and even dogs. Eleven out of the 12 master showmen of the fair competed in the contest; Siera Shields, the dairy market feeder master showman, had her foot crushed by her project just before she was supposed to compete.
A true showman should be able to show any animal, despite how little they’ve interacted with it. Emily Dunn, master showman of draft horses and member of Trailblazers 4-H club and Knox County Draft Horse and Pony Club, says it should all be done with a smile.
“The most important part is just having fun and having a smile on your face the whole time. It doesn’t matter if you’re going out there and your animal looks the best or you have the most experience, it’s just about having fun. If you don’t have fun, it’s not going to be a good class for anyone; the judge, the animal, or you,” Dunn said.
In order to prepare for the contest, both Dunn and 12-year-old Hayley Burke, master showman of rabbits and Green Leaf 4-H club member, said that you have to ask a lot of questions.
Burke said that she asked a few close friends that showed different animals for tips, and Dunn made use of her social skills.
“I’m a very social person, so I will ask anybody an