Years of dedication and hard work paid off Wednesday when Rachel Schroeder took home the Showman of Showmen Championship at the Williams County Fair.
Schroeder, 19, a 2018 Edgerton High School graduate, was the top showman in the Swine category. She bested the top showmen in the seven other animals breeds: Naomi Hickman (Dairy), Aubrie Calvin (Rabbits), Paige Briner (Beef), Jobe Carlson (Sheep), Joe Reamsnyder (Goats), Colton Friedel (Poultry) and Emma Huffman (Horse) in the 2-1/2 hour competition that judges skill and poise with each animal.
This was the 13th and final year of 4-H for Schroeder, who is a dental hygienist student at Rhodes State College in Lima. She’s shown swine for years and was also involved in 4-H cooking and sewing projects, the Williams County 4-H Fashion and Food Board, is a county 4-H ambassador and is on the state 4-H Fashion Board.
Though she said, “I didn’t expect to win,” after she was announced as winner, she also said she worked hard at winning showman in the Swine category, and then made time to practice with the other animals prior to the final competition.
Both of Schroeder’s parents, Gary and Mary Ann, of Center Township, also were in 4-H, so it’s a family tradition.
“She works hard and she spends a lot of time with the animals. And she has to be dedicated, and make time, being in school in Lima,” said Schroeder’s mother, Mary Ann. “But you can tell the kids who were in 4-H, they’re poised and able to present themselves well,” she said.
Gary had some experienced advice to any other kids involved in 4-H: “Don’t get discouraged. The more years you’re in it, the better at it you get. And have fun.”
Schroeder has a twin sister, Rebecca, a student at The Ohio State University; an older sister, Laurel; an older brother, Issac; and a younger sister Audrey, 15, who’s also in 4-H and was present to see her sister win Wednesday.
“It’s going to be strange next year not showing at the fair,” Rachel said, then added, “But I’ll be back here next year to help my little sister.”