Once, twice a showmanPublished 9:06am Thursday, August 6, 2009
By JOHN EBY
Dowagiac Daily News
CASSOPOLIS – Tiffany Rogers, Michigan FFA’s new president as of July 1, won showmanship honors in sheep and beef, with draft horses yet to come.
In 2002, Tiffany entered the adult draft horse showmanship class, showed against her 4-H leaders and “to everyone’s surprise, and my own, I won.”
In fact, this was her first year with a steer, “so this was totally unexpected. I’ve always wanted to show a steer, and this year I finally convinced my parents,” Cheryl and David.
“I represent sheep (in Saturday’s Showmanship Sweepstakes), which I won first on Monday,” Tiffany explained late Wednesday afternoon after cooling off Nip – short for “conniption” – with a scrub brushed bath.
When she tries to turn 1,340 pounds of beef she looks like she’s trying to dislodge a Buick from a ditch.
This will be her first trip to Saturday’s Showmanship Sweepstakes.
Light horses “are completely different from draft horses,” she knows. “And dairy is very different from beef, so I need to learn that one as well.”
Tiffany, who graduated from Niles High School with the Class of 2009, has one more summer at the fair in 2010. “I hope to come back,” she said.
“I’m very excited,” she said. “It has been a goal, actually. It doesn’t matter” which animal area she represents. “Sheep have been a long-time project for me and I’m really passionate about that project. This fall I’ll be attending Michigan State University to major in agribusiness and pre-law. I hope to be an agricultural lawyer because I’m passionate about both fields.”
Today she will be squeezing in showing draft horses and poultry (market ducks) with the livestock auction.
She entered poultry and draft horse notebooks in still exhibits.
Ask her what impact she expects the deep recession to have on the auction and she answers diplomatically, choosing her words carefully – did we mention she’s the state FFA president?: “I hope it goes well. I hope a lot of individuals are still willing to come out and support the youth who brought their projects to the fair as they have in the past.”
Queen of the 156th fair two years ago and 2004 princess, Tiffany was the inaugural Miss Cass-St. Joseph County Outstanding Teen against Miss Michigan Teen 2008 and 2009 Miss Dowagiac First Runner-up Elizabeth Kolden, who just returned from her musical ambassadorship in Greece.
Tiffany, a member of Country Trailblazers and Drafted! 4-H clubs, enjoys playing piano, equestrian vaulting, playing soccer, scrapbooking, spending time with friends and family and showing draft horses at state and international shows.
“I’ve been traveling a lot this summer” for her presidency, Tiffany said – Lansing, a week in Grand Rapids, Washington, D.C.
“I’ve been kind of busy. In the fall we have chapter visits,” she said.
Her grandparents, Irv and Dorothy Frost, were grand marshals of the 2005 fair parade.
In Tiffany’s 13 years of 4-H, she has shown draft horses, sheep, pigs, chickens, ducks, dogs and a variety of still exhibits.
Tiffany has shown at the Great Lakes International Draft Horse Show in Lansing against competitors from Canada and across the United States.
On May 1, 2008, Tiffany and her Cassopolis FFA teammates put on a meeting-conducting exhibition for the Cass County Board of Commissioners.
The squad, coached by Bill Butcher, also included Chris Davison, Stephanie Stickle, 2009 Fair Queen Meg Hein, Kyle Miller, Ryan Stover, Kayla Green and R.J. Lee, this week’s dairy feeder steer champion showman. Last Oct. 22-24 they went up against 43 of the nation’s outstanding FFA programs in Indianapolis.
Tiffany borrowed Chairman Bob Wagel’s gavel and, from the head of the horseshoe-shaped commissioners’ table, kept the proceedings moving at such a blistering pace that at least one adult commented she could become an auctioneer.
Tiffany’s pageant talent last year was singing “One Short Day” from her favorite musical, “Wicked.” Tiffany was also Junior Miss Apple Festival.
Tiffany’s platform was “Agriculture MATTERS (Materials Attributed to Teaching Elementary Students Rural Significance). She went into classrooms and taught farming-based lessons to elementary students to make them more aware of agriculture.