XENIA — Claire Morris sang a song over and over in her head during Market Beef Showmanship Aug. 2 in the Cattle Barn.
It was “Leaving New Orleans,” which Jordan Davis played two nights prior in the grandstands at sunset as he opened for rock-country band LANCO.
For Morris, it was a tactic to stay calm and focused as she showed Tia, her heifer, in the ring.
“I’ve had her since she was little. She was born on our farm,” Morris, nearly 15, said. “I showed her as a feeder calf last year. And I’ll get to watch her calf be born in March.”
Morris said her history with Tia gives her a comfort-level advantage.
“It helps you a lot,” she said. “I worked with her all winter. She has a lot of show-ring experience.”
Morris took second place with Tia during showmanship in Class 2 of the Intermediate Division and then again in Overall Intermediate.
But not before she went neck-and-neck with Brandon Barr, who took the blue ribbon, during both shows.
“These top two showmen … they just kind of separate themselves in terms of style, presence in the show-ring and in terms of how well they work their cattle,” the judge said as the overall class ended. “The young lady that comes out in second I think is an extremely talented showman … That’s a really really close pair. They’ve done a really nice job with their projects.”
After the show, Morris, still alongside her black heifer, was all smiles.
“We go back and forth every year,” Morris said of she and Barr. “I’m really excited.”
A member of Farmers and Friends 4-H Club, Morris has been in 4-H since she was 8, and started showing cattle when she was 6. Her family has seen their share of shows and county fairs.
“We camp here. My whole family came out — my mom, dad, sister and brother,” Morris said.
This probably wasn’t the last.
“Next year, hopefully I’ll come here with my calf,” she said.
And then the friendly competition will continue.
“I hope to do better next year,” Morris said, “and hopefully be up in first.”
Contact Anna Bolton at 937-502-4498 or follow @annadbolton on Facebook.