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March 09, 2013   Email to Friend 

Jeff Helms
March 09, 2013

Alabama Farmers Federation and Alfa Insurance President Jimmy Parnell, back, congratulates Junior Beef Expo Overall Supreme Showman Clay McGuire of Lee County.
MONTGOMERY, Ala., March 9 -- A Lee County student took top honors March 9 in the Alabama Junior Beef Expo Showmanship Contest, sponsored by Alabama Farmers Federation and Alfa Insurance.

Clay McGuire was named Overall Supreme Showman after winning the senior division. More than 100 young people from throughout the state competed in the event held at Ed Teague Arena in Montgomery.

Federation President Jimmy Parnell said youth livestock programs teach valuable lessons for life both inside and outside the show ring.

"This program develops some extremely good young people because it teaches responsibility," Parnell said. "It teaches you to work hard, think and get along with other people. It also teaches you about winning and losing. There's probably not a kid in this program that hasn't lost at some point in time, and then win again later. They learn to work harder to get to that winning position."

Junior Supreme Showman for the contest was Rayne Starkey of Jackson County. Kylie Elrod of Cullman County was honored with the Alabama Cattlewomen's Association Scholarship.

The showmanship competition highlights months of work by children who feed, groom and train their beef calves in preparation for the show. During the Junior Beef Expo, most of the students will exhibit their calves in either a steer or heifer show. Judges for those contests evaluate the overall conformation of the animals. In the showmanship ring, however, the focus in on the handler and his or her ability to showcase the positive attributes of the calf.

Caring for beef cattle is both challenging and rewarding, said Emma Merriman of Etowah County.

"You have to get up before school every morning, and you have to clean stalls and feed," she said. "You have to come back after school, get your homework done, and go out and do it all over again."

For the showmanship contest, students are divided into classes by age. The class winners then compete for supreme showman in the junior (ages 9-13) and senior (age 14 and older) divisions. Separate classes are held for first-time or "rookie" showmen.

Rookie class winners for this year's showmanship contest were: Marry Hannah Gullatt, Lee County; Olivia Powers, Chilton County; Lindsey Doyal,Chambers County; Madison Miller, Mobile County; Jessie Graham, Mobile County; and Josh Dugger, Walker County.

Open show class winners were:  Olivia Powers, Chilton County; Audra Graves, Blount County; Conner Moore, Chambers County; Chelsea Langley, Chambers County; Abbi Bedgood, Mobile County; Aniston Bolding, Chilton County; Rayne Starkey, Jackson County; Grace Gullatt, Lee County; Cassidy Catrett, Crenshaw County; Carter St. John, St. Clair County; Adam Heflin, Chilton County; Morgan Pounds, Montgomery County; Will Graves, Blount County; Kylie Elrod, Cullman County; and Clay McGuire, Lee County.

All contestants were provided fleece vests by the Alabama Farmers Federation and Alfa. Class winners received custom portfolios, and the supreme showman in each division received a Farming Feeds Alabama tent. Winners also were awarded ribbons and cash prizes. Parnell said he's happy the Federation and Alfa are able to sponsor the showmanship event.

"This is our future," he said. "The parents are our customers, our friends, our neighbors, our farmers. But the kids are the future of the state of Alabama and for agriculture."

Watch a video from the event. 

Visit the Federation's Facebook page for photos of all class winners.

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