XENIA — A nearly-seventh-grader won the senior dairy showmanship Aug. 1 at the Greene County Fair.
Hannah Hurst, 12, was young among the group of contestants who competed alongside her. Because she won the junior dairy showmanship the year prior, she could only enter the upper-level show.
The showmen — all dressed in white and boots — led their heifers around the ring, keeping constant eye contact with the judge.
One had a particular poise.
“The young lady with the little jersey calf … she switched lead and set up nicely,” the Xenia dairy heifer judge said during the show, referring to Hurst. “Those are extras judges like to see. And she’s knowledgeable about her heifer.”
Hurst’s mom, Tawnya Hurst, said the showmanship focuses on the child’s skill. She added that they were also leaving that night to make it to an open class at the Ohio State Fair.
According to the younger Hurst, shows are “really nerve-wracking.”
“But for me, it’s only at first … once I get into it, it’s easy. I cut out the noise,” she said.
Hurst said even though she can focus during competition, you never really know how your heifer is going to do.
“That heifer could one day be stubborn, and one day be leading faithfully,” she said.
The twelve-year-old said she feeds her heifer the “right nutrition” — including beet pulp — and washed her every morning at the fair.
“I’m very happy,” she said of her win.
Hurst also earned first place in the jersey winter heifer calf class, third place in the intermediate level of Skillathon, and reserve junior champion.
But Hurst isn’t the first in her family to show.
She’s simply carrying on the tradition that began four generations before her, when her great-great grandfather first started showing cattle in Elkhart County, Indiana.
“She is a fifth-generation show person in our family,” her dad, Michael Hurst, said with pride.
A week before the Greene County Fair, Hurst took two heifers to an open show at the Elkhart County Fair, so her grandpa could see her show.
“It was really fun,” she said.
With her grandpa in the stands, she earned herself a junior champion title.
“All of the family came,” her mom said. “That’s where it all began.”
Contact Anna Bolton at 937-502-4498.