By Tom Collins
SPENCERVILLE — The winner of this year’s EastGen show at Spencerville has some advice for young people in 4-H: Never give up.
Tamara Hamilton looked like she was carving out a career in finishing fourth or fifth at the EastGen Showcase. This year was different. It was her last chance for the 22-year-old to compete in 4-H. She made winning her goal. It wasn’t easy.
The EastGen show was originally scheduled for July 3-4 in Spencerville, and Hamilton was resigned to being a no-show as her calf had an extreme case of ringworm. Then a lingering heat wave postponed the show to August.
The week before the Spencerville show, Hamilton finished a dismal 14th at Avonmore. Then came the EastGen. She came fifth in her heat and squeaked into the finals. The top five made it through to the finals.
“We always tell kids, don’t give up,” she said. “If I would have got upset, (the judge) would have seen that, and it would have changed my placing. You cannot give up until you leave that ring.”
Hamilton, whose family milks 100 Holsteins at Hamildale Farm at Russell, kept exuding confidence, and her cow, Lincrest Goldchip Indigo, didn’t miss a beat despite being in back-to-back heats. Hamilton was named grand champion showperson.
“I was like wow, this actually happened,” said Hamilton, who started showing calves at 10 years old. “It felt good. I’ve always said, ‘There’s nothing I wanted more than to win EastGen.’”
Hamilton said many of the youth showing at EastGen said they preferred the later start, as it gave them more time to prepare their cows instead of it being held a few days after school ended.