By Navar Watson
Sheridan resident Kelsie Waitt had just four and a half hours to prepare for the Supreme Showmanship competition at the Hamilton County 4-H Fair July 21, making for a bit of a shock when she won Grand Champion that night.
“I would have never imagined that I would have won it,” the 10-year 4-H member said through teary eyes. “I am just so blessed for this opportunity.”
Waitt, the daughter of Kent and Brenda Waitt, said winning grand champion was her greatest 4-H achievement.
“This is just a great way for me to finish off my 4-H career,” she said. “I’m just on Cloud Nine right now.”
Waitt was one of seven contestants in the competition, which combines the senior showmen from meat goats, dairy goats, beef cattle, dairy cattle, swine, sheep and horses. The contestants are judged based on how well they show each animal.
Waitt had won the beef cattle competition around 2:30 p.m. the same day, giving her the shortest amount of time to prepare for the evening’s competition.
“I really didn’t think I had it because there’s so many other amazing people that I was going up against,” she said. “I was just so honored and humbled to be called the winner.”
Lapel resident Daniel Young, who won reserve grand champion, represented swine at the competition.
“It’s just unbelievable,” he said. “To be [in the competition]in only my second year of eligibility is incredible … It’s really cool to be able to do this well my first try.”
Young’s older brother, LJ, was one of the three winners in last year’s contest. LJ, who participated in the competition three times, won reserve grand champion before winning grand champion his final year.
“It makes you proud,” Kathy Young said about her sons’ successes. “They’re both very competitive and want to win, so it just makes you feel good when their effort’s rewarded.”
Waitt and Young agreed that the horse was the most difficult animal to show, especially since both of their horses were troublesome. Waitt, however, remained calm throughout the performance, often talking to her animals when they struggled. Staying calm was her biggest advice to future contestants.
Completing his eighth year in 4-H, Young will be a junior at Pendleton Heights High School in the fall. He eventually plans to attend college and study animal science and veterinary medicine.
Waitt graduated from Sheridan High School this year and plans to major in animal science at Purdue University this fall.