(Posted July 21, 2017)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
“Keep your cool”—words of advice for future Livestock Grand Showman of Showmen hopefuls from this year’s winner, Kosta Xenikis.
The 14-year-old London resident bested seven other top showmen in the Madison County Junior Fair’s pinnacle event, held July 14. Those who qualified to compete had to wow judges with their abilities to show all species, not just their specialties.
Xenikis qualified as the top beef showman. Going into the grand showman contest, he said he was most worried about showing the horse, but had fun once he was in the ring. On the other hand, he thought the goat would be easy to show, but such was not the case.
Through all of it, he followed his own advice.
“If an animal is hard to handle, don’t show your frustration. Keep your cool; that’s what the judge likes. Don’t be nervous because the animal will feel that,” he said.
A member of the Speedy Spurs Livestock 4-H Club, Xenikis has been showing animals as a 4-Her since he was 9 years old. He started with sheep and chickens and for the last three years has concentrated exclusively on beef. In addition to fair shows, he competes in about 12 BEST shows each year, showing steers and heifers with other youths, mostly at the Ohio State Fairgrounds in Columbus.
“When you work with your steer a bunch and he goes in and performs well, I like that feeling,” Xenikis said. “I like it when you go in (to show) and you don’t have to fight your steer, and he does whatever you want him to do.”
He put this experience and mindset to work for the grand showman contest, gathering tips from people he knew who were good showman for the various species. The preparation paid off.
“I practiced two or three times before the contest and was all set,” he said.
In addition to winning Grand Showman of Showmen, Xenikis placed first in the intermediate class for beef grooming, was named premier livestock exhibitor for beef market, and won reserve champion for his steer.
Xenikis, son of Tony and Toula Xenikis, will be a freshman at Madison-Plains High School this fall.
The other top showmen who competed in the Grand Showman of Showmen contest this year were: Hayley Henry, Speedy Spurs Livestock 4-H Club, swine; Dalton Cunningham, Fairfield Rascals 4-H Club, sheep; Brooks Barber, Fair-field Rascals 4-H Club, goats; Bailey Anderson, Darby Riders 4-H Club, equine; Madison Shaw, Double L II 4-H Club, rabbits; Serenity Kirts, Monroe Winners 4-H Club, poultry; and Olivia Finke, Eager Achievers 4-H Club, dairy.
The showman of showmen for non-livestock species were: Hope Fetherolf, Exclusively Equine 4-H Club, dog; and Mikayla Garay, Helping Hands Happy Hearts 4-H Club, small animals.