Showmanship runs in the family

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Brad Russell won Supreme Showmanship and his little sister, Sammy, won Royal Showmanship at the Hamilton County 4-H Fair on July 22. (Photo by Robert Herrington)

Brad Russell won Supreme Showmanship and his little sister, Sammy, won Royal Showmanship at the Hamilton County 4-H Fair on July 22. (Photo by Robert Herrington)

July 22 was a day of pure excitement and relief in the Russell home as siblings Brad and Sammy Russell both captured showmanship titles. The Noblesville residents were each competing in their respective contest for the second time – Sammy in Royal Showmanship and Brad in Supreme Showmanship.

“I felt relieved. I was more nervous, it was heavier on my shoulders because I got reserve champion last year and everyone was expecting grand champion,” Sammy, a junior at Hamilton Southeastern High School, said. “It gave me an idea of what all the judges were looking for.”

“It felt good just getting into it,” Brad said. “It was a lot easier this time around. I had no idea how to show beef or dairy cows and horse was a disaster (in 2011).”

Royal Showmanship winners from rabbits, poultry, cats, llamas, dogs and Pygmy goat projects compete to master the showmanship techniques not only of their own animal, but of all six species. Supreme Showmanship includes senior showmen from meat goats, dairy goats, beef cattle, dairy cattle, swine, sheep and horses. A qualified judge from each species puts the contestants through their paces with each animal – never knowing for certain which 4-H’ers won which species. Judges score the participants based on their handling of the animal and rank them accordingly.

Brad previously competed in Supreme Showmanship in 2011. He tied Megan Pickering and LJ Young as this year’s winners.

“It’s a great way to end my 10 years,” Brad, who recently graduated from HSE, said.

Each was on hand to watch the other and was just as happy for their sibling as they were on their own win.

“I jumped out of my seat and hollered,” Brad said. “I was excited. She was there to win it, and I knew she’d do well.”

“I was still nervous, just as much as when I competed in Royal. I told him, ‘No pressure but I won so you have to now,’” Sammy said. “When I heard his name, I was so surprised and happy for him. He went in trying to be relaxed – whatever happens, happens. He just wanted to get in it.”

Both Russell siblings show Pygmy goats, meat goats and poultry. Brad also shows swine and dairy goats. The siblings said the other has been there to support them.

“We showed the same animals, sometimes in the same class. I would do what he’s doing. He was always giving me tips,” Sammy said.

“It’s just fun to work with somebody else raising the animals – to have a great relationship,” Brad said.

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