SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Sixty young livestock exhibitors vied for the title of “Grand Champion Overall Master Showman” on Aug. 11 during the 2023 Illinois State Fair Master Showmanship Contest.
The exhibitors, who were the winners of their respective 4-H county contests, showcased their skills and knowledge of animal husbandry at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.
This prestigious competition invites 4-H members ages 14-18 years to display their showmanship skills across three species — beef, sheep and swine.
The 4-Hers were judged on their ability to handle each animal, knowledge of the species and animal husbandry, as well as overall showmanship skills.
Three winners were named for each species and scores for all three species were tallied to determine the top five winners overall.
This year’s contest winners are:
• Grand Champion Overall Master Showman — Morgan Richardson, daughter of Jamie and Cathy Richardson, Boone County.
• Reserve Grand Champion Overall Master Showman — Aubrey Killey, daughter of Kevin and DeNeene Killey, Warren County.
• Third Place Overall — Preston Rhode, son of Tyler and Melissa Rhode, McLean County.
• Fourth Place Overall — Taylor Rhoads, daughter of Matt and Jen Rhoads, DeKalb County.
• Fifth Place Overall — Tait McCaskill, son of Matt and Erin McCaskill, Brown County.
• Champion Beef Division — Lauren Wolter, daughter of Bradley and Kimberly Wolter, Clinton County.
• Reserve Champion Beef Division — Morgan Richardson, daughter of Jamie and Cathy Richardson, Boone County.
• Third Place Beef Division — Tait McCaskill, son of Matt and Erin McCaskill, Brown County.
• Champion Swine Division — Aubrey Killey, daughter of Kevin and DeNeene Killey, Warren County.
• Reserve Champion Swine Division — Preston Rhode, son of Tyler and Melissa Rhode, McLean County.
• Third Place Swine Division — Gwen Hall, daughter of Janet and Brian Hall, Ogle County.
• Champion Sheep Division — Alivia Porter, daughter of Erik Porter and Misha Porter and Jared Finegan, Iroquois County; and Ashleigh Wackerlin, daughter of Eric and Tina Wackerlin, Kane County.
• Reserve Champion Sheep Division — Kylie Clayton, daughter of Jessica and Mark Clayton, Scott County.
• Third Place Sheep Division — Taylor Rhoads, daughter of Matt and Jen Rhoads, DeKalb County.
Nearly $8,000 worth of prizes donated by sponsors were awarded this year. First-, second- and third-place overall winners received $500, $400 and $300 cash, respectively, a new show box and other various prizes. Fourth and fifth place overall received a $200 and $100 cash, respectively, and other various prizes.
Each species division winner received a $100 gift card and a zero-gravity chair. Each contest participant received a T-shirt, bucket and $25 gift card.
This year marked the 23rd annual Master Showmanship Contest held at the Illinois State Fair. This year’s contest was hosted by Illinois Farm Bureau and the RFD Radio Network. Illinois Farm Bureau President Richard Guebert Jr. and Associate Director of Commodities and Livestock Tasha Bunting presented the awards.