FAIR REIVEW - OSU drum major, 'Buckeyeman' were Showman judges

Cary Ashby • Oct 29, 2015 at 12:52 PM

It was fitting that The Ohio State University marching band drum major Stewart Kitchen judged the dairy portion of the Showman of Showmen contest at the Huron County Fair.

After all, "Buckeyeman" was a fellow judge.

Chickens and turkey judge Larry Lokai came to Friday's contest wearing a buckeye necklace and a flamboyant hat with large turkey feathers. The Urbana resident, who has been "Buckeyeman" for the last 10 years, led the crowd at the Doug Wilson Building in chanting "Go, Bucks, Go." Many attendees energetically answered Lokai's cry of "O-H" with "I-O."

"Anybody who can walk around with a turkey and be sane is a great exhibitor," Lokai said about the nine Showman contestants.

Stewart, an OSU agriculture and extension education major, said he was honored to be a judge at this year's event. The Kenton man stood in the center of the ring while the contestants led their respective cows in a circle and positioned their legs while the animals were standing still. Several of the cows strained slightly against the head restraints being held by the contestants.

Things weren't so easy with the turkeys.

Three contestants each brought a turkey out of a pen inside the ring and used what appeared be to a cane with a hook to guide where the animal walked. After the turkey went about 15 feet, the exhibitors maneuvered it into making a U-turn to return to the pen.

Some of the turkeys were more obedient than others. While none of them left the rink, several turkeys crossed paths. Beef champion Richard Bolden's turkey backed up when being returned to the pen and refused to cooperate at first.

To the casual observer, maneuvering the turkeys looked about as easy as herding cats.

Lokai said one turkey was speedy, another was "slower than molasses in January" and the third "liked to strut his stuff."

The sheep led by rabbits champion Sabrina Featheringill jumped up at her face at least four times. Turkeys champion Carrie Hinkley's sheep managed to get away from her and ran around the open end of the rink before being nabbed by audience member Dean Hord, of Greenwich.

"I've caught a few of them in my time," he told Hinkley while handing the sheep back to her. Hord's oldest daughter has shown sheep for 12 years and his youngest daughter has been in the same event for 11 years.

The Greenwich man wasn't surprised when Hinkley's sheep jumped toward him in the stands.

Hord, who had slowed down a steer the first day of the fair, said it was "natural" to grab the sheep. He grabbed the runaway steer with one hand while holding a feeder calf that was about to be weighed with his other hand.

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