by Eric Stearley
For the second year in a row, the Mize name reigned supreme during the Wabash County Round Robin Showmanship competition as Katie Mize captured the title and a $500 scholarship. Katie’s older brother, Cole, captured the title last year, along with Grand Champion Steer, which Katie was able to follow up as well.
In the round robin competition, the top showmen in 7 livestock categories come together to show each of the seven species in turn. This year, the competition was tight as Mize represented the beef department, while Cale Dyson represented swine, Elizabeth Anguilm represented dairy, Sarah Hines represented Horse and Pony, Maddy Dale represented goats, Mary Willcox represented sheep, and Kane Gable represented veal.
“I want to congratulate all the other kids,” Mize said following her victory. “They did an awesome job.”
Capturing the Round Robin title requires a great deal of versatility, as each species is shown in a different way using different tools. Mize, who has shown beef, swine, sheep, and goats in the past, was in her comfort zone during the beef portion, but was hesitant about the showing a horse prior to the competition, an apprehension her brother shared during last year’s competition.
“I thought the horses would be the hardest,” said Mize following the competition. “It was actually the swine tonight. My pig did not want to cooperate with me, but it was OK.”
Following each round of competition, the contestants had a brief break while judge Matt Dice explained what he was looking for with each animal. At the completion of the goat round, the competition came to an end. Judge Dice allowed the contestants the opportunity to share a bit about themselves before the winner was announced.
“My favorite thing about 4-H is learning that the hard work and dedication eventually pays off,” said Mize.
Not long after, she found that this was exactly right. As the judge began to walk down the line of contestants, he stopped in front of Katie and shook her hand. The crowd erupted in applause as Mize realized that at just 15 years old, she had won one of the most coveted titles in all of 4-H.
The flash of cameras filled the show arena and Mize was presented with a giant $500 check from Farm Credit Mid-America.
As a former Round Robin winner, Katie’s brother Cole was on hand to assist with the competition. The check presentation was followed by a warm embrace between the siblings. Katie also had some advice for future round robin contestants.
“You just have to stay calm the whole time and keep your composure,” she said, “and even if the animal gets wound up, you still have to just stay calm.”
This fall, Mize will start as a freshman at Manchester Junior/Senior High School, but before the first day of school, Mize is looking forward to using her showmanship skills to present her Grand Champion Steer, Oscar, at this year’s Indiana State Fair.
“I hope we do well,” she said. “Whatever happens happens.”
As for the fate of the $500 scholarship, Mize has some idea where it might end up.
“I’d like to go to Purdue and study something in agriculture,” said Mize.