The future appears bright for youth working with livestock in Wayne County 4-H.

This year’s Supreme Showmanship winner, who earned the highest score for showing nine types of animals on one night, is entering ninth grade this fall.

Adalynn Slick, who attends Randolph Southern High School, was quite surprised by the award given on Thursday, June 27.

Adalynn had qualified for Supreme Showmanship after earning top sheep honors on Tuesday evening. 

That meant she had to begin quickly visiting barns and gathering advice on how to show the other animals. She also received a binder to study for the written test that’s used as a tiebreaker if needed. 

Adalynn Slick receives her Supreme Showman awards. Photo by Mike Emery

Contestants must show horses, swine, dairy, rabbits, poultry, meat and dairy goats, sheep, and beef over a nearly three-hour contest. Judges who specialize in each category evaluate their talents and ask them questions.  

“I didn’t think I was going to win at all,” Adalynn said, “There were a lot of kids a lot older than me.”

Longtime fairgoers watching the awards presentation were impressed by Adalynn’s victory and said it’s rare to have a Supreme Showmanship winner that young.

“Lots of good people helped,” said Adalynn’s mother, Lee Ann Slick. 

Adalynn is a six-year member of Franklin Fliers 4-H Club and participates in basketball, cross country and FFA. 

She said showing livestock has taught her responsibility and dedication, and she likes focusing on the outcome of winning shows.

Adalynn credited Purdue Extension intern Delaney Oliger, the county’s 2022 Supreme Showmanship winner, with calming her down early in the evening and helping her focus. 

Oliger had helped coach Adalynn on dairy cattle earlier in the week and said she enjoys working with 4-Hers like Adalynn.

“I told her she got this far, she just had to finish,” Oliger said, noting the value of encouraging words during the stressful competition. “She knows what she’s doing, she just had to be confident.” 

The 2023 Hagerstown High School graduate remembers how nerve-racking it was to compete for Supreme Showmanship. 

“It’s like every eye in the stadium is looking at you,” Oliger said. 

However, Oliger said she has fond memories of her 4-H experience, and she applies those life lessons today. 

She said those unfamiliar with 4-H don’t understand how much work goes on behind the scenes and how much everyone helps each other. 

Oliger is studying at Indiana University East to be a math teacher and was juggling a calculus midterm along with her long days at the fair.

Nine 4-H members participated June 27 in the Wayne County 4-H Fair’s Supreme Showmanship competition. They are (from left) Madison Knight, Emily Hill, Savannah Swope, Dalton Justice, champion Adalynn Slick, Caden Wampler, Gideon Morford, Ashton Brandt and Wyatt Sawyer. Photo by Mike Emery

Other Supreme Showmanship participants were: 

  • Beef: Caden Wampler, Hagerstown junior
  • Dairy: Emily Hill, Hagerstown junior
  • Meat goats: Wyatt Sawyer, 2024 Northeastern graduate
  • Dairy goats: Gideon Morford, no school information available
  • Horse and pony: Ashton Brandt, Centerville sophomore
  • Poultry: Dalton Justice, Northeastern senior
  • Rabbit: Madison Knight, 2024 Northeastern graduate
  • Swine: Savannah Swope, Centerville freshman
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A version of this article appeared in the July 3 2024 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Millicent Martin Emery is a reporter and editor for the Western Wayne News.