By Tom Collins
LINDSAY — Durham region’s Melyssa Sargent is always nervous during a showmanship competition, but focuses that nervous energy on performing better in the ring.
“Honestly, the nerves kind of help me in a sense,” said the 20-year-old who has been showing for 17 years. “It gets me more alert. I remember to breathe and try to think it’s just me, my calf and the judge in the ring. No one else really matters.”
The nervous energy paid off on July 26, when Sargent was named grand champion showperson at the East-Central 4-H Showmanship Competition at Lindsay.
Sargent, whose parents own Enniskillen Jerseys at Enniskillen, 25 minutes northeast of Oshawa, said the show is tough on Jersey calves as it takes place immediately after the Ontario Summer Jersey Show. Jersey calves are usually shown all day at the main show before being led in the showmanship competition.
The trick to keeping the calf fresh, said Sargent, is to walk her for at least an hour every day at home to build up the calf’s stamina. She also lets the calf rest as much as possible between the two shows.
“She was getting tired and I didn’t want to put too much pressure on her to win it, but when we got pulled in for first, that was pretty awesome,” said Sargent.
Here is the list of winners:
Grand champion: Melyssa Sargent, Durham East
Reserve: Mariah Beckett, York County
Honourable mention: Cody Armstrong, Peterborough County
Novice champion: Liam Bullock, Peterborough County
Junior champion: Mitchell Crowley, Peterborough County
Intermediate champion: Cody Armstrong
Senior champion: Melyssa Sargent