Martin doesn’t just judge the rabbit, he judges how well each student has studied and learned their animal’s facts: everything from the rabbit’s scientific name — Leporidae — to their eye type.
“I have a ridiculous amount of flashcards — over 100 flashcards,” Dickinson said. “I do get nervous.”
Dickinson is in her second-to-last year of competing, and spoke of her experience with her 4-H group, Miami Producers. The group hosts 4-H clinics to mentor younger members in how to be a showman, what to know about their animals and more.
Dickinson said she “110%” made progress since her first year. She has won Breeding Market showman of showman three times and wants to continue the tradition of helping the next showman to grow.
“My goal is to win this year, so next year I can spend time passing it on to other kids,” Dickinson said.
She explained that she “wants it to feel more like a competition for them,” instead of constantly striving to learn through experience. Dickinson was also inspired by her brother, who showed chickens with success before graduating out of the program.
This community-oriented competition continued as her peers came up to congratulate her afterward, petting her rabbit and reflecting on the judge’s questions.
“We’ve all always been willing to help each other,” Dickinson said. “It really helps when you have competitors who drive you to do better.”
The competitors were close this year, as Martin announced each of the top four for showman of showman had one or two points between them. After Dickinson won breeding rabbit showman of showman, she will move on to compete against the market chickens, market rabbits and market turkeys for small animal showman of showman.
“Overall, it’s a really good time,” she said.