MONTCALM TOWNSHIP — After 14 years of dreaming, and five years of coming so close, it was on her last attempt of showing 4-H animals that Kristina Brasington’s dream finally came true.
Having been awarded the showmanship champion for cavies this year, Brasington, 18, of the Winfield Hustlers 4-H Club, was given the task, along with nine other 4-H’ers, of showing 10 total animals in an effort to be declared the 2014 sweepstakes champion.
Brasington was declared this year’s winner on Saturday morning at the Montcalm County 4-H Fairgrounds after receiving the highest score — 93.3 out of 100.
“This was my fifth time trying it, and practice makes perfect,” she said. “It took a lot of studying.”
After winning the showman championship for cavies on Wednesday, she spent time the rest of the week asking other 4-H’ers how to show the other nine animals involved in the sweepstakes — the dairy cow, steer, dog, goat, chicken, sheep, horse, pig, rabbit and poultry.
Each showman champion rotates between the 10 animals, and is tested by judges on categories of animal health, care and feeding, parts of the animal, and as well as their ability to properly show the animal.
“I was very nervous,” she said. “Keeping those nerves under control and not letting them show was challenging.”
Brasington said the most difficult animal for her to show was the sheep.
“They just scare me sometimes,” she said with a laugh.
Brasington said she has shown the cavy throughout her 4-H career and first entered 4-H after encouragement from her parents and neighbors 14 years ago.
She added that she believes her 4-H career, now that she has graduated from Lakeview High School, has likely come to an end.
“I went out with a bang,” she said. “It feels great. Just try, try, and try again, and don’t get discouraged.”
Standing with her cavy, Sam, Brasington received two large hugs from her parents, Dennis and Karen Brasington.
“She’s worked hard and she’s earned it,” Dennis Brasington said. “She really has, she’s studied them all and loves animals.”
Winfield Hustlers club leader and 4-H board member Lisa Johnson, who is also Kristina Brasington’s neighbor, said it was rewarding to see her come out on top this year.
“She used to help us with our pigs growing up,” Johnson said. “I think that was a pig help to her, getting her involved with large animals. Her and her sister, they are just wonderful kids. Kristina is a wonderful young lady and an asset to our club.
“I’m just so proud, it’s like it was my own kid that won,” she said. “Her grandmother was my leader and now I’m her leader. It’s very special.”