Thompson shines as overall showman winner
TIMONIUM, Md. — The five grand champion showmen on the Maryland State Fair’s market animal shows vied for the top prize of All Star Showman on Sunday, Aug. 27.
After each showman rotated through showing the five market species — sheep, meat goat, swine, beef and dairy steer — Isabella Thompson of Frederick County was named the overall winner, earning a $500 premium from the fair.
“It has been a full week of competitions, with hundreds of exhibits from 4-H and FFA members. The 4-H and Farm and Garden building is draped with ribbons and many animals have been shown through the show rings in the last several days,” said Ashley Travis, 4-H agent in Washington County and the competition’s announcer. “Tonight’s All Star Showmanship Contest is a special tribute to the 4-H and FFA members who have risen to the top in their respective species showmanship competitions.”
Thompson is a seven-year member of the Johnsville 4-H Club who reached the all-star competition as the grand champion swine. In addition to her swine project, she shows market goats and beef cattle. She was also named the grand champion swine showman at the 2022 Great Frederick Fair.
When asked what she has learned from her swine project over the years, Thompson said, “perseverance for the fact that when things knock me down (to) get back up and keep going.”
Thompson, an FFA member at Linganore High School, said she plans to continue her swine project by breeding and raising quality show pigs and to mentor young people in the swine industry.
Thompson competed against sheep showman Ava Grabowski, meat goat showman Alyssa Costa, beef showman Shane Doody and dairy steer showman Bryson Gue.
Grabowski has been a member of the Harford Stockyards 4-H Club in Harford County for 10 years. In addition to her sheep project, she also showed meat goats this year.
Grabowski has been honored in Harford County with the Harford County 4-H Memorial Scholarship. In High School, Ava was in and completed the magnet program at North Harford High School.
When asked what she has learned from her sheep project over the years, she said, “I have learned great sportsmanship, even when things don’t go as planned, always congratulate the other competitors.”
Grabowski said she plans to continue her sheep project by going to jackpot shows and competing again at her county fair and state fair next year. She is attending Harford Community College this fall and majoring in Criminology. Her career goals including pursuing a career in the field of national security.
Costa has been a member of the High Ridge 4-H Club in Carroll County for eight years. In addition to her meat goat project, she also carries the goat and sheep projects. At this year’s Carroll County Fair, Costa showed the Reserve Grand Commercial Buck, Grand Commercial Dam and Daughter, and Commercial Champion Bred and Owned Doe.
She said she is very proud that every banner or rosette she has brought home this year was with a bred and owned project animal.
When asked what she has learned from her meat goat project over the years, Costa said, “Hard work go hand in hand, but nothing beats the bond you create with your animal. Also, don’t be afraid to seek advice from mentors along the way.”
Costa said she wants to continue raising high quality boer goats for 4-H and FFA members in my community and take time to help other showman in the ring.
Gue has been a member of the Getter’s 4-H Club in Queen Anne’s County for five years. In addition to his dairy steer project, Gue also shows swine.
This year his other accomplishments have included showing the Grand Champion Dairy Steer at the Queen Anne’s County Fair.
When asked what he has learned from his dairy steer project over the years, Bryson said, “work ethic and how to take care of animals.”
Gue attends Queen Anne’s County High School with plans to join the school’s FFA chapter.
Doody has been a member of the Johnsville 4-H Club for seven years. In addition to his beef project he also shows swine.
Doody said accountability and responsibility were two of the main things he has learned from his beef project.
He attends Catoctin High School and hopes to pursue a career in welding and continue raising cattle.
The five all star youth were evaluated by livestock judges Terry Burks, Annette Braun, Robert Dinsmore, Austin Stoner and Matthew Chaney.
Travis said judging criteria consisted of handling of the animal at 50 percent, knowledge of the species at 25 percent, showmanship characteristics at 15 percent and cooperation with the judge at 10 percent.
Another all star showmanship championship for dairy cattle, dairy goats, llamas and alpacas is scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 10.