By Tom Collins
MARKHAM — It was a great comeback for a townie at the EastGen Challenge – East at Markham on July 13.
Barrie’s Ryan Lewis was showing Walkhavern Doorman Zadie, a March 2017 calf that had given its leadsperson fits last year.
“She would always try to buck her head,” Lewis told Farmers Forum. “She wouldn’t stay still. She would try to eat your arm or eat the halter. She always wanted to push you instead of walking those half steps. I’ve been working with Zadie a lot and finally got her leading the way I wanted.”
The day of the show, Zadie started pushing Lewis while in the ring. Only seven from his senior showmanship heat went to the final heat. Lewis managed to calm Zadie down by talking to her, and finished seventh.
“I get her to focus on me more than the people around her,” said the 22-year-old on how he calms Zadie down. “If I’m talking, then she focuses on me a bit more. Be patient with her and she’ll settle into the environment eventually.”
Lewis went on to beat out 11 other competitors in the final heat to win senior showmanship and also took home the overall champion showperson. In his last year of 4-H, the win is the highlight of his showing career. Zadie was also took home first place for junior yearling.
Lewis didn’t grow up on a farm, but as a kid, every Saturday he went to the farm owned by his aunt and uncle, Tanya and Colin Walker of Walkhavern Farms at Collingwood. While visiting 10 years ago, he jumped at the opportunity to join 4-H when he was 12 years old.
“I had a really good first couple of years, making the Royal and winning a couple of shows,” he said. “It definitely helps to keep motivated when you’re winning.”
While he doesn’t plan to become a farmer, he does own 11 cows with his uncle and intends to continue that aspect of farming.
Champion showperson: Ryan Lewis, South Simcoe
Reserve champion showperson: Madison Brattan, Wellington County
Champion calf: Murrayvale Doorman Kristie, shown by David Leach of York County
Reserve champion calf: Frankhaven Goldwyn Promise, shown by Mariah Beckett of York County
Overall champion: Ryan Lewis
Reserve overall champion: Madison Brattan
Top quiz: Megan Ford, Peterborough County
Premier county: Dufferin County