Osborne wins Royal Showmanship

Royal Showmanship Reserve Champion Samantha Russell, left, and Grand Champion Allison Osborne. (Photo by Robert Herrington)

Allison Osborne’s 18th birthday will be one she won’t soon forget, as the Westfield High School student won the Royal Showman title. Could Osborne think of a better gift to receive on her birthday? “Honestly, no,” she said. “Although, I would like a Golden Retriever puppy.”

Royal Showmanship winners from rabbits, poultry, cats, llamas, dogs and Pygmy Goat projects compete to master the showmanship techniques not only of their own animal, but of all six species. A qualified judge from each species puts the contestants through their paces with each animal – never knowing for certain which 4-H’ers won which species. Judges score the participants based on their handling of the animal and rank them accordingly.

“I really didn’t expect it. It was amazing – my jaw dropped,” Osborne said.

Osborne is in her ninth year of 4-H and is a member of the Harey Hoppers 4-H Club. She represented Pygmy Goats in the competition but has experience with chicken and rabbits.

“It was a lot more fun than I thought it would be,” she said. “Showmanship is nerve wracking for me, but this is fun.”

Osborne’s older sister, Megan, was the 2008 Royal Showmanship winner (the two are the only sibling winners in the short history of the competition).

“When I started studying, she said she didn’t care if I won, as long as I had fun it (the outcome) didn’t matter,” recalled Allison. “That was the attitude I took into it.”

Samantha Russell of Noblesville won reserve champion in her first year in the senior division. Although she represented the poultry barn, Russell said that species was particularly hard.

“The questions were a lot different than (poultry) showmanship,” she said. “Rabbits made me nervous. I only had one day to train and was told to stay away from the Netherland Dwarf (breed) and of course that’s the one we all had to go get.”

Other participants in Royal Showmanship included Emily Schloneger of Carmel, Teddi Kolarich of Fishers, and Clara Garner and Maddie McFadden of Noblesville.