He came to the Hall County Fair on Sunday wearing a buckle he’d won at Russell County, Kansas. But he got a shiny new buckle Sunday for winning the 4-H Round Robin Showmanship contest at Five Points Arena.
Jacobs was one of 10 competitors in the event, which brings together the top two senior showmen in five categories — beef, sheep, swine, goats and horses. The two representatives are grand and reserve senior showmen.
Jacobs, 15, was one of two winners from the swine category.
Jacobs totaled 256 points to win the contest. Callie Collins finished second with 251, followed by Sage Gideon in third with 244 points. Collins represented goats and Gideon was the other winner in hogs.
The idea is to give 4-H exhibitors the chance to learn about other species of livestock. None of the round robin participants gets to work with their own animals.
After Jacobs won senior showmanship with hogs on Thursday, he practiced with a lot of the champions of other species to learn how to show their animals.
He’s “friends with a bunch of the people here,” he said. “So I asked if they could teach me how to show their lambs, cows and horses. That’s how I learned to do it.”
This is Jacobs’ first year in senior showmanship, a necessary step to competing in the round robin contest. So it was “pretty exciting that I won,” he said.
He’s worked hard all summer. “I’ve been to a lot of progress shows,” he said, referring to side events held before county fairs.
“It’s just a good feeling when all your hard work pays off at the end of the year,” he said.
Even though pigs are his main focus, that category was the hardest event for him Sunday because he wasn’t working with his pig. He felt that he did well in the goat category.
Like many of the other competitors, Jacobs works hard on maintaining eye contact with the judge. “That’s my main goal, is just to stare down the judge.”
He also concentrated on giving the judge the best look at the animals “that I could possibly give him,” he said.
Jacobs is the son of Bill and Kellie Jacobs, who farm north of Cairo. The farm is about a mile south of Centura School, where Jack will be a sophomore this fall.
Jacobs started showing livestock at the State Fair when he was 2. The best thing about the activity is all the friends he’s met.
He also loves showing pigs, although he had a steer last year.
His sister, Emma, has also “been showing pigs forever,” he said. “She works really hard.”
This year, she won champion intermediate showmanship.
John Alfs of Shickley judged four of the species — everything but horses.
“I thought they did an amazing job,” Alfs said of the participants. “I think that as a whole, all those kids had a great awareness of where I was at in the show ring at all times.”
They had a good understanding of what to do with each species.
“Some kids just did a little bit better” in knowing how to carry themselves “with a little bit more class, a little bit more fire in their eyes,” Alfs said.
When Alfs judges showmanship, seeing how much each participant cares is “a big thing for me,” he said.
He looks for the fire in their eyes “and the drive to win,” he said.
Round robin also has a verbal component. Alfs asked each competitor what lesson they’ve learned form showing livestock and how it will affect them into the future.
Alfs noted how the youths paid attention to the crowd, and if they were scared. “Was the question too daunting for them?” he wondered.
He also noticed the thoughtfulness of their answers. He wanted to find out if the youths had really thought about what impact showing livestock would have on their whole lives, or did they just think about it in regard to the next five years?
The other seven competitors were Emersyn Moeller and Baylie Codner, beef; Mia Olson and Michal Bonesteel, sheep; Cooper Ewoldt, goats, and Kendal Knuth and Rya Happold, horses.
All of the participants received T-shirts and Dairy Queen gift cards.
Sponsors of the event were Five Points Bank and Flagle Trucking. AKRS Equipment sponsored a meal Sunday.