Ag student claims beef titlePublished 11:20pm Monday, August 9, 2010
By JOHN EBY
Niles Daily Star
CASSOPOLIS — The 159th Cass County Fair’s Showmanship Sweepstakes winner, Tiffany Rogers, of Niles, has shown half of the species tested, leaving dairy feeders, light horses, dairy cows and goats.
In 2009, when Rogers was state FFA president, she qualified with sheep, then added two more showmanship titles in beef and draft horses. Rogers repeated as beef showman in 2010.
Rogers lost last summer 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 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.
For instance, after her first pinnacle with beef led 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, Ruggles 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.”
Surprisingly, for someone with a proven track record showing draft horses, Rogers felt most apprehensive about light horses.
As FFA state president, Rogers 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.”
Rogers, who belongs to Country Trailblazers and Drafted!, was joined by her maternal grandparents, Irving and Dorothy Frost, the fair 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, exhibited the grand champion market duck in the poultry show.