MOUNT VERNON — Visitors to the Knox County Fair on Wednesday evening had the chance to see the skill of the top junior fair showmen for 2010 in action. The individuals selected as Master Showman in 10 different livestock categories competed in the Showman of Showmen contest, where each contestant showed an animal in each of the 10 livestock categories — swine, rabbits, poultry, horses, dogs, goats, sheep, beef, dairy market feeder and dairy calf.
“We separated small animals and large animals into different contests in the past but chose to combine them this year,” said Knox County Junior Fair Board President Brooke Hinkle. “Those who may show rabbits or poultry may not feel comfortable enough showing horses or beef cattle. But they would have the choice whether they wanted to show or not.”
After the 10 contestants poured all their efforts into showing 10 different animals, the winner was chosen and announced this morning, prior to the Sale of Champions. The 2010 Showman of Showmen was David Ruckman, a member of the Llamas R Us 4-H Club. Lydia Durbin of Danville was named runner-up.
After showing a chicken to the judge, sheep master showman David Ruckman said, “It’s different; pretty much all of it. This is based on knowledge such as anatomy, breeds and meat facts rather than presentation.”
Prior to showing the dairy market feeders, Lydia Durbin, dog master showman, said, “I’m not too worried, having just shown a beef steer. It’s been interesting and fun, learning to show all the different animals.”
Anevin Tharp, goat master showman, said it wasn’t hard for her in the contest; in the past she has shown llamas, horses, swine, dairy feeders, dairy steers, beef heifers, sheep, dogs, turkeys and rabbits. So this was all old hat for Anevin, as she impressed the judges enough to win the Master Showman of Showmen title.