DENTON — She did it again. Caroline Saathoff of Caroline County defended her 2018 Elite Premier livestock handling title, winning the 2019 crown on Friday, Aug. 9, at the Caroline-Dorchester County Fair.
Every year the 4-H winners from the goat, swine, sheep and beef shows compete in the Elite Premier showcase.
During this final showcase, each exhibitor must handle all four animals to find out whose handling skills transcend species.
This year, Saathoff won in two of the livestock handling competitions — swine and beef — giving herself one less competitor in the Elite showcase.
Saathoff went head-to-head with Elizabeth Ross and Carson Hollingsworth in the final showmanship showdown.
Ross was successful in goat handling, with her goat Violet. She also was crowned Queen of the 2019 Caroline-Dorchester County Fair earlier in the week.
Hollingsworth, 9, specializes in sheep and dairy handling. His sheep-handling skills landed him his spot in the elite competition.
Each exhibitor put up a good fight in the livestock show. But, ultimately, they put sportsmanship before showmanship, they said.
Saathoff, Ross and Hollingsworth each helped one another before the competition, answering their opponents’ questions about their respective animal expertise.
“Before the show, we tried to help each other, like with the sheep and the goats because I don’t show those,” Saathoff said.
She said when she’s working with a goat, she often feels nervous. But it definitely helps to have the support of her experienced peers, she said.
Although, the nerves seemingly went away after her second consecutive overall win. She said she was feeling “pretty good” upon receiving her trophy.
“I’ve been showing for a really long time,” said Saathoff, who has been a 4-H member for nine years. “It’s really, really fun. It’s good experience.”
Saathoff said she’s excited to continue working with animals, and she wanted to celebrate this 4-H victory with a snow cone.