COLFAX — For Macy Leonard, earning the right to compete in the Jasper County Fair’s Supreme Showmanship event was an achievement, but winning was sentimental.
The contest was created to honor her second cousin Brice Leonard who died in 2010. Macy said when she was announced as grand champion in Supreme Showmanship she couldn’t help but think about Brice’s and her family.
“He loved showing,” the 20-year-old, Iowa State University junior said. “The seven of us in the competition were all excellent showmen. They are all my friends and it was great that we were given the opportunity to do it.”
The Brice Leonard Supreme Showmanship Contest is in its fourth year as a Jasper County Fair event and tops off the week’s agricultural contests.
The event’s namesake, Brice Leonard, was 33 years old when he died nearly seven years ago. A Baxter resident and graduate of Colfax-Mingo High School, Brice Leonard was heavily involved in the ag industry including serving as vice president of the Jasper County Fair Board, was on the All Breeds Sheep Council and a member of the Iowa Sheep Industry Association — among many other agricultural related endeavors.
The county fair’s showmanship grand champion in each species division gets the opportunity to compete for the title of Supreme Showman. Each contestant has to show seven animal species including horse, goat, sheep, llama, beef, swine and dairy. The exhibitors usually have a specialty — for Macy Leonard that focus is sheep.
To prepare for Supreme Showmanship, Macy won the senior sheep showmanship contest. She’s been showing for 11 years. As a former member of the Jolly Workers 4-H club and a member of the Newton FFA, it was also revealed during the competition that she can juggle.
In researching other show animal species, she said she learned an interesting tidbit about llamas — they’re a protectorate animal. They will guard other animal herds from predators, and they spit when they feel threatened.
“I had to go and network with those people who knew the other spices and gain their knowledge,” she said. “It feels kind of good to know I can go and show any species I want.”
Macy’s fellow Newton FFA member and Northwest Missouri State sophomore Jacob Smith was awarded reserve grand champion in this year’s contest. The 19-year-old represented the beef division, and even plays a little rugby on the side. He, too, had a personal connection with Brice Leonard which made his ribbon special.
“When the results were first announced, I was honored,” Smith said. “Brice’s parents are close to my family, and they helped out a lot (in my showing).”
Other contestants in this year’s Supreme Showmanship include Jordon DeVries, goat; Gavin Branderhorst, swine; Kevin Parker, dairy; Kiley Essen, llama; and Elizabeth Horn, horse.
Contact Mike Mendenhall at firstname.lastname@example.org