Tiffany Rogers wins big trophy from beef barnPublished 6:39pm Sunday, August 8, 2010
By JOHN EBY
Dowagiac Daily News
CASSOPOLIS — The 159th Cass County Fair’s Showmanship Sweepstakes winner, Tiffany Rogers, has shown half of the species tested, leaving dairy feeders, light horses, dairy cows and goats.
In 2009, when Tiffany was state FFA president, she qualified with sheep, then added two more showmanship titles in beef and draft horses.
Tiffany repeated as beef showman for 2010.
Last summer Tiffany lost to Brooke Ruggles, who was appearing in her third Showmanship Sweepstakes.
Ruggles won the big trophy from the beef barn as a 13-year-old girl and qualified again in 2007, the year she graduated from Three Rivers High School.
Ruggles, 20, represented goats the first summer she ever showed them, closing out her 12-year career by carting away the coveted hardware.
Brooke’s secret was that in the classic fish-out-of-water competition she was never out of her element, having shown every species.
For instance, after her first pinnacle with beef leading to the Showmanship Sweepstakes, she didn’t show there again, turning her attention to horses.
As she prepared for her last hurrah, like a tourist checking off states on a travel itinerary, Brooke participated in all three remaining shows she lacked — goats, poultry and dairy — completing her bucket list.
“I can say I’ve shown every single thing at the fair,” Ruggles, a junior at Western Michigan University, said. “Even cats when I was little. There are so many great showmen at our fair. Tiffany got grand champion in the draft horse ring and I was reserve. When you lose to someone like Tiffany, you don’t feel bad about yourself, you feel good that you got second,” said Brooke, who received a hug leaving the arena last August from Tiffany’s mom, Cheryl, a former 4-H youth agent for three fairs, who became a Cassopolis teacher.
Tiffany’s father, David, was a “true city boy” from Muskegon.
Surprisingly, for someone with a proven track record showing draft horses, Tiffany felt most apprehensive about light horses.
“I”m so used to draft horses,” she said, “and they’re pretty much the complete opposite. That one was definitely a little nerve-wracking. It was a goal to try to make it here and try one more time. This is my last year.”
As FFA state president Tiffany headed an organization of 5,800 — about the size of Dowagiac.
A sophomore at Michigan State University, Rogers is studying agribusiness and pre-law to become an attorney specializing in agriculture.
“I felt really confident with the draft horses” judged by Brooke Stowers from Dowagiac, Rogers said. “But my sheep wasn’t cooperative. That was touch and go. I probably know RJ (Lee, dairy feeder entrant and runner-up from Edwardsburg and Flaming Youth) the best because we’ve done a lot together.”
Tiffany was a fair princess in 2004, queen of the 156th fair and the first Miss Cass-St. Joseph County Outstanding Teen over Elizabeth Kolden of Dowagiac.
Tiffany, who belongs to Country Trailblazers and Drafted!, was joined by her maternal grandparents, Irving and Dorothy Frost, the grand marshals of the 154th fair in 2005.
He’s a former county commissioner and Howard Township supervisor.
She’s originally from Dowagiac.
Tiffany’s younger sister, Ashley, 17, who will be a junior at Niles High School, in the poultry show exhibited the grand champion market duck.