By Matt Reese
Starting in late July, a sea of dedicated Ohio youth clad in plaid shirts, jeans and shiny belt buckles congregated in Columbus for the Ohio State Fair, the pinnacle of livestock shows in the state. They arrived toting meticulously groomed and cared for market livestock of every kind — from goats to beef cattle.
Many of these young people have been perfecting their showmanship skills since they could carry a show stick and have spent months painstakingly working with their animals. They go to great lengths to make sure every hair is in place and every comfort is provided to maximize the animal’s performance.
Once they get to the fair, the animals are cleaned to a show ring sheen and clipped to eye-appealing perfection. When the show arrives, the young exhibitors toil in the sweltering heat to present their animals to the discerning eye of the judge.
After the champion has been chosen and the ribbons awarded, tears are shed as the animal and exhibitor part after spending countless hours together in preparation for this event.