By Doug Graves
INDIANAPOLIS – For most, a trip to the Indiana State Fair is a memory maker. For one Boone County participant, it was a dream of a lifetime.
Isaac Thompson, a nine-year 4-H member, took home the top prize of Supreme Champion in the 4-H Supreme Showmanship competition at the fair.
“This has been a very big goal of mine and I was a little shaky,” Thompson said after hearing his name being called on the speaker.
The event featured two 4-H representatives from each barn – cattle, sheep, goats and swine – who demonstrate their talents in showing several species of livestock.
“This has been such a long time in the making for me,” Thompson said. “I’ve really been working hard at it. Now that I finally got here and heard my name be called over that speaker was just amazing and it’s nothing like I can really describe.”
This dream of his began when he was just 8 years old.
“Ever since I was young and before I was in 4-H, we always would go and watch Supreme Showmanship at the county fair,” he said. “I always thought that was amazing, the whole concept of showing everything. Showmanship has always been something that I can really work hard at and it doesn’t matter how good my animals are, as long as I put the time and effort into it, I will see those benefits.
“Even though it’s only one showman in the ring, it’s been a village of people who have helped me, so I just want to say thank you to that village.”
Other participants in the 2023 4-H Supreme Showmanship competition included Cayden Johnson (Reserve Champion, Boone County), Mya Wolka (Jackson County), Sage Lawrence (Noble County), Harlee Henney (Steuben County), Hailey Orem (Clinton County), Holly Howard (Allen County) and Evan Grinstead (Boone County).
“The Supreme Showmanship is the pinnacle of all showmanship competition in Indiana,” said Jeff Rodibaugh, agriculture and commercial loan officer with Farmers First Bank and Trust and sponsor of this event. “These competitors were the best of show at their respective county fairs. They’re the best you will find.
“Showmanship is all about the individual and not about who has the best animal. It’s about the showman’s skill set. A lot of times 4-Hers are not able to work with the top-notch animal, but they can work hard to be at one with the animal they do have.”