After a three-year hiatus, the Round Robin showmanship event made its grand reappearance at the Pratt County Fair, complete with new rules and expectations.
Reorganization and rule modifications led to a smooth transition for livestock exhibitors back in the showring for the round robin showmanship competition at the fair this year.
After a three-year hiatus, superintendents brought the top showmanship competition back for those who excelled in sheep, swine, horse, beef and goat exhibition earlier in the week.
Julia Hemphill, one of the superintendents for the event, said she was pleased to see how smoothly the event went and how organized and efficient it had become with the new rule modifications.
“A lot of the kids were excited that it was back in and there were a lot of parents that were excited it came back,” Hemphill said. “The purpose of the round robin, I would say, is that—it’s for the kids—we take the grand and reserve out of each species and they get to compete against one another and see who’s kind of the showman of the livestock.”
For example, Hemphill said that some of the competitors had never handled a horse or shown a pig, so it was a learning experience for many of them.
“They get that opportunity to do the round robin and be able to experience handling those different animals,” Hemphill said. “They have to show a horse, a sheep, goat, swine and beef.”
The winners of this year’s round robin event were senior grand champion Kami McComb, senior reserve grand champion Brock Montgomery, intermediate grand champion Madeline Drake and intermediate reserve grand champion Buck Slade.
Following completion of the week’s animal-showing events, the grand champion and reserve grand champion showman for each event had the opportunity to compete in the round robin event—a competition that tests each showman’s ability to handle a variety of animals—even animals the showman has never competed with.
The event is split into age groups so that senior competitors face-off and intermediate competitors face-off.
After many years of holding the event in the history of the Pratt County Fair, organizers decided to pull it three years ago until the rules could be redefined and structured so as to prevent the possibility of controversy.
Some of these rule changes include assigning numbers to each of the animals and having the competitors draw numbers randomly to find out which animals they would be working with.
While it is possible for competitors to randomly draw their own animal’s number, it is up to the discretion of the judge to decide whether to allow it or have the competitor switch animals with another competitor before the start of the event.
In organizing the event and bringing it back to the fair, there were several people who Hemphill said were instrumental in the process, including organizers, Shannon Bergner and Steve Stratford.
“I think it went really good—the kids were excited, they were a little nervous, but they got to handle other animals that they’ve never handled before,” Hemphill said. “If they won in steers, they got to handle somebody else’s steer, not knowing how that animal was worked with or trained. They had to adapt pretty quick in getting that animal presented to the best of their ability.”