(Posted July 17, 2019)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
For Macy Burchett, the third time was the charm.
The 17-year-old London resident has been showing animals at the Madison County Fair since she was 9. Three times, she has qualified for the pinnacle in livestock showmanship, the Grand Showman of Showmen event–in 2014, 2016 and again this year. On July 12, she walked out of the ring the winner.
“The first year, I was so young, I was so confused. After being there multiple times, though, you feel more confident,” said Burchett, who will be a senior at Madison-Plains High School this fall.
The Grand Showman of Showmen event brings together the top Junior Fair showmen in swine, sheep, dairy, goat, beef, equine, rabbit and poultry. The contestants show not only the specie by which they qualified but all of the others, too.
As she did in her two previous trips to the big show, Burchett qualified again this year with beef. While beef is her focus–she also participates in the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association’s Best show circuit every winter–she has experience with many of the other species.
“I showed some poultry when I was really young, I took a goat one year, this is my first year with a pig, and I’ve taken lambs the last two years,” Burchett said.
To get up to speed on dairy, equine and rabbits for the Grand Showman contest, she studied friends’ project books and got help from the other Grand Showman contestants.
“Everybody was great about helping each other,” she said.
The work Burchett put into preparing for the species with which she was less familiar helped to reduce stress, she said, though she remained apprehensive about the horse category.
“Equine was definitely the hardest for me. I just tried to stay calm through it all,” she said.
Her words of advice for future Grand Showman of Showmen contestants: “Don’t be afraid to ask for help, no question is dumb, and if you are unsure about an animal, work with it more than once.”
Burchett is the daughter of Becky and Dave Burchett. Her sister, Amy, shows goats. Burchett grew up in the Eager Achievers 4-H Club and has been a member of the Madison-Plains FFA since she was a freshman.
About her years of experience in 4-H, FFA and the Best show circuit, Burchett said, “I really like spending time with the animals and building teamwork with them…and I really like spending time with family and friends and meeting new people. Without 4-H and FFA, I would never be able to meet some of these people.”
In addition to the Grand Showman of Showmen title, Burchett’s 2019 fair achievements included: beef showman of showmen, champion market steer, reserve champion breeding heifer, reserve champion beef feeder, reserve champion county born and raised feeder, reserve champion overall sheep showman, overall premier beef breeding and market exhibitor, and overall livestock judging winner.
The other qualifiers for this year’s Grand Showman of Showmen contest included: swine–Haylee Henry, Speedy Spurs Livestock 4-H Club; sheep–Olivia Seaburn, Beginners to Winners 4-H Club; dairy–Olivia Finke, Born in a Barn 4-H Club; goats–Molly Barber, Fairfield Rascals 4-H Club; equine–Baylee Anderson, Darby Riders 4-H Club; rabbits–Marissa Osterloh, Country Bunch 4-H Club; and poultry–Amara Suchy, Double LII 4-H Club.
Other showman of showmen who did not participate in the livestock Grand Showman of Showmen event included: dogs–Kate Sessler, LFS Riders 4-H Club; small animals–Cade Smith, Helping Hands Happy Hearts 4-H Club; and alpacas–Kayden Warnock, Helping Hands Happy Hearts 4-H Club.