Niles’ Osban continues winning ways at Michigan State Fair

Published 11:55 pm Friday, August 27, 2004

By By JOHN EBY / Niles Daily Star
NILES - Nicole Osban can go Niles, city of four flags, one better.
Five flags flapped from her deck Thursday after a week showing goats at the Michigan State Fair in what has been a banner year for the 19-year-old Lake Michigan College student.
Her main goal this summer was winning the Showmanship Sweepstakes at the 153rd Cass County Fair in Cassopolis, which she accomplished Aug. 7 on her fourth try.
In 4-H competition in Detroit, she earned two best of breed banners, two junior champions and one reserve best of breed.
She exhibited the grand champion and reserve grand champion milking Nubian and the grand champion and reserve grand champion dry Nubians.
She was top goat showman, won the milking contest and finished first with her fitting and showing team.
In the open show, alongside adult breeders who have been competing as long as she's been alive, Nicole won grand champion milking Nubian and grand champion and reserve grand champion dry Nubian.
Her mentor brought 32. "We had one whole row of the barn," said Nicole, who made her fourth trip to the State Fair and earlier this year finished ninth in goat showmanship at national competition in Pennsylvania. She also finished ninth at the nationals in North Carolina.
Since the 2005 nationals are in Washington state, she plans to compete again in 2006, when the contest will be closer, in Kentucky or Tennessee.
Nicole is the oldest of three. She has two brothers, 17 and 12.
As Michigan's top dairy showman, Nicole received a $300 belt buckle. "Pygmies have their own show. Jason Fryman (of Dowagiac) got top showman for that. He called me before we went and was like, 'Guess what?' I have to call him and tease him because I got a belt buckle, too."
Although she spent a week in the Motor City, Sunday to Sunday, she spent three days in the show ring - one day for 4-H, one day for the dry show and one day for the milker classes.
The Friendly Folks member also qualified for the county fair finale as dairy showman.
Nicole has been showing in open classes for five years.
Nicole was given her first goat as part of a former program, New Beginnings. "I had to choose two different breeds in case they couldn't find the first one," she said. "Nubians have always been cute to me, with their big, floppy ears. The lady I show for has LaManchas, with little ears, so those are my two favorites. It would be pretty hard for me to get LaManchas and beat the lady I show for. She's almost impossible to beat" at her hobby she wins in at nationals and cultivated after a childhood around draft horses.
Nicole averages eight shows a year. She will continue to compete until the Allegan County Fair in mid-September.