Members of the National Junior Angus Association (NJAA) all aspire to have the chance to compete for the Champion Showman title at the National Junior Angus Show (NJAS). Jace Stagemeyer of Nebraska had his dream come true as he was named the 2021 NJAS showmanship winner in Grand Island, Nebraska on July 17.
“I said to myself you’re either going big or going home, then they announced my name and all my nerves just went away,” Stagemeyer said. “Deep down inside I was thrilled. I knew I had the potential to do it, but it comes down to so many little nitty gritty things that are out of my control. I was super thrilled.”
Although many junior national shows have a showmanship contest, there are a few factors that come into play that potentially make this the most prestigious showmanship contest of them all. First, to have the opportunity to compete at the NJAS showmanship competition, juniors must be selected by their home state. The juniors that are selected have only one year of eligibility. At NJAS, juniors must compete in preliminary rounds with hopes of being selected as the top 15 showman and women.
The top five winners were selected by judges Cody Bock of Illinois; Britney Creamer of Colorado; Susan Henderson-Perry of California; and Bobby Strecker of Colorado. The top five winners are awarded each a coveted Silver Revere bowl sponsored by the American Angus Auxiliary. As a part of being selected as the champion showman, the junior member is awarded the Dean Hurlbut Award in honor of the man who began the Angus showmanship competition in 1967.
“It was a really humbling experience and I feel really blessed to have even had the opportunity to experience it,” Stagemeyer said. “This is probably the premiere showmanship competition in the nation, and to be able to make it to that top spot was a once in a lifetime opportunity – that makes it even more special.”
Showmanship exhibitors were evaluated on how they handle their animal, sportsmanship, plus their ability to follow instructions given by the judges. To enhance the contest further, exhibitors were given preselected heifers and switched animals with other exhibitors several times throughout the contest to prove their skills. The rest of the top five winners included: second place, Natalie Philips of West Virginia; third place, Chancee Clark of Oklahoma; fourth place, Hannah Tremaine of Wisconsin; and fifth place, Eva Hinrichsen of Kansas.
The National Junior Showmanship displays the best of the best in terms of livestock handling. The remaining top 15 contestant were: Brooklyn Curtin of Iowa, Kaitlyn Bell of Pennsylvania, Zachary McCall of Virginia, Whitney Walker of Arkansas, Maguire Rohr of Colorado, Erica Chapman of Iowa, Ashlyn Mool of Illinois, Alexandria Cozzitorto of Kansas, Skye Wimmer of Kansas and Claire Brown of Indiana.