(Posted July 21, 2016)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
A first generation 4-Her took home the grand showman of showmen title at the 2016 Madison County Fair.
Brooks Barber, 14, son of Amy and Richard Barber, bested seven other competitors in a showdown that pits the top showmen of each species against one another.
While his parents grew up as city folks—his mom in Gahanna and his dad in northern Ohio—Brooks has known the country life since his family moved from the west side of Columbus to London 11 years ago.
“We live on three acres of land, and I just kind of made my own little farm,” said Brooks, who breeds goats and rabbits and shows goats all over Ohio on a competitive summer circuit.
A member of the Fairfield Rascals 4-H Club, Brooks began his 4-H career five years ago, starting with rabbits then adding goats. He was named rabbit showman of showmen at last year’s fair, which earned him his first trip to the grand showman contest. This year, he qualified for the big show as the top goat showman.
Because he was familiar with the contest, Brooks said he wasn’t nervous this time around. While he finds pigs a challenge to show, he was comfortable handling other species outside his specialties. Lambs, for instance, were easy because they are similar to goats, he said.
As for how he felt about his performance before the results were announced, Brooks said, “I had no idea how I did because there were such great showmen out there.”
Brooks will be an eighth-grader at Madison-Plains Junior High this fall. He said he looks forward to continuing his 4-H career.
“I have met just so many nice people through 4-H. I feel like I’m growing as a person and learning so many life skills because of this system,” he said.
The other showman of showmen competing in this year’s grand showman contest were: Macy Burchett, Eager Achievers 4-H Club, beef; Lexi Rehm, Darby Riders 4-H Club, equine; Carson Clawson, Helping Hands Happy Hearts 4-H Club, poultry; Alyson Petee, Green Range 4-H Club, swine; Cheyenne Young, All That and A Bag of Shavings 4-H Club, rabbit; and Dalton Cunningham, Fairfield Rascals 4-H Club, sheep. J.T. Lemmerman of the Monroe Winners 4-H Club was the dairy showman of showmen buthe was unable to participate in the grand showman event. Olivia Finke, reserve champion for dairy, competed in Lemmerman’s place.