Determination pays off for 'bittersweet' win

Zoe Greszler • Updated Aug 20, 2017 at 9:55 PM

Saturday brought the best of the best in every livestock category to one last show at the Huron County Fair, all vying to be dubbed the showman of showman.

Annie Cummings, 18, earned that title after much determination and hard work during the past 13 years. She worked her way into the showman of showman ring by winning the turkey showmanship competition earlier in the week.

“I’m so excited,” she said. “It’s kind if bittersweet, though, because that was my last time showing. I was in showman of showman last year and I got third, That’s been my goal for the past 13 years — to win the showman of showman. So finally, here I am.”

Cumming’s father Chad was beaming with pride at his daughter’s accomplishments.

“She actually went last year and she took third,” he said of the show. “Then she went, ‘Dad, I want to take everything to the fair that I possibly can (in 2017).’ We took six species this year. We took steers, lambs, hogs, chickens, turkeys and rabbits.”

Her willpower has paid off. Cummings placed first for showing swine, rabbits, sheep and turkeys in Saturdays competition.

“I show all livestock except goats and dairy, so it was easier, I feel like, because I went thought the whole week, doing all of my showmans,” she said. “(I got) lots of practice. I thought the most difficult was the beef feeders because mine acted up a lot. He was young and he just didn’t want to set up all that well, but it’s all right.”

She was named first attendant to the queen at this year’s Junior Fair pageant. She also serves on the Junior Fair board.

Cummings, a member of the Richmond Mother’s Helpers and Willard FFA, is the daughter of Chad and Stacy and older sister of Madison. She plans to attend Bluffton University, with classes starting this week as she works toward a degree in speech language pathology.

She said her hard work during the past 13 years of 4-H and FFA helped her earn the showman title.

“It’s definitely helped a lot with interviews — I’ve been through so many interviews. I’ve learned so many skills like leadership, responsibility, patience for sure,” Cummings said. “I definitely think that it’s shaped me into a better person.”

Bellevue FFA members Corey Andrews and LeAnn Erf placed second and third, respectively, in the competition. 

Andrews, 17, who earned a spot in the competition as the top poultry showman, said his most difficult animal to show was a goat.

“Goats are too small for me,” he said.

Andrews, who has one more year of eligibility in the annual fair competition, hopes to win the 2018 showman of showman title. Andrews plans to go to the The Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute located in Wooster to study animal science.

Erf, 18, said she “had a lot of fun” and overcame a fear during the show.

“For me the hardest part was sheep,” said Erf, who was the market beef showman champ. “I got used to walking animals with halters, so that was a whole new thing. Surprisingly, even though I’m afraid of chickens, I placed second in chickens.”

Erf, who also has one more year of eligibility in the showman event, plans to attend Trine University in Angola, Ind. and major in physical therapy.

Other participants that earned their spot in the showman of showman ring were Mason Kluding (swine showmanship winner), Brooke Gahring (meat goat), Danielle Kreglow (dairy goat), Chase Eisenhauer (sheep) and Savannah Bartlett (rabbit).

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