Ariens honored as the 2020 Supreme Showman

Thursday, July 23, 2020
After a runner-up finish in 2019, Seth Ariens showed his determination and poise Thursday evening, winning the Supreme Showmanship title for the 2020 Putnam County 4-H Fair.
Banner Graphic/BRAND SELVIA

On the whole, this year’s Putnam County 4-H Fair was a decidedly unusual one. With none of the carnival fanfare and the absence of Legionburgers to boot, it was all about the 4-H’ers and their efforts.

This year’s Supreme Showmanship competition was unusual on its own. Besides moving to the horse arena for the final portion and the presentation of the awards, there were fewer people in the stands than normal.

Ultimately, none of this mattered in the moment as Seth Ariens kept his cool and his confidence -- and it finally paid off. After three years of vying for the coveted honor, the 17-year-old just didn’t win the large Supreme Showman trophy this year. He did it on his birthday.

“I’m so happy to have finally won it,” Ariens said after sharing hugs with family and friends. “I guess I’m still in shock right now, but I’m just so happy and overwhelmed and excited.”

Ariens represented the dairy barn in this year’s fair. Bree Mahoney-Sutherland, who represented the horse barn in the competition, was honored as the 2020 Reserve Supreme Showman.

Arien’s determined and reserved demeanor belied what he believed was his greatest strength shown in this year’s contest. When an animal got flustered, it was important for him to “just deal with it.”

“I just tried to stay as calm and collected as I could,” he said. “I had a few rowdy ones, but I just tried to stay down to Earth and just stay with the animal and keep them as calm as I could.”

Celebrating with 2020 Putnam County Fair Supreme Showman Seth Ariens are mom Anna and dad Kevin. Seth is the eighth consecutive North Putnam student to win the title.
Banner Graphic/BRAND SELVIA

Ariens was named the Reserve Supreme Showman at the fair last year, with Katie Fry taking the top honor. He suggested that this year’s was about becoming more familiar with the species, especially with goats and horses.

“I went back and just doubled-checked and triple-checked myself on the species that I knew I wasn’t very good at,” Ariens said of his preparation. “With us not being at the fair every day, I had a lot of time. I just went out and I worked ‘em and I worked ‘em.”

In addition to Ariens and Mahoney-Sutherland, the other barn representatives in the competition were Ethan Hamm (swine), Sarah Fuhrman (sheep), Emma Summers (goats) and Parker Hacker (beef).

It was noticeable that Ariens is close with the 4-H’ers he competed against Thursday evening. In all of the excitement, he showed a level of humility and grace in having shared the ring with them.

“I just want to say to all of my competitors that they were absolutely amazing,” Ariens remarked of his fellow showmen. “I couldn’t have chose a better set of people to compete against. I just can’t wait until next year to see who gets in it.”

After his win this year, and with two years to go still before he becomes a 10-year 4-H member, Ariens said he wants to devote some of his experience to helping younger 4-H’ers achieve the same result.

“Since I can’t do it again, I really want to help other people to win it,” Ariens said about moving forward after this year. He hopes he can inspire other 4-H’ers to put their best efforts forward in the competition.

Ariens is currently an eight-year member in 4-H. In that time, he has developed a dedication to the showmanship side of raising and maintaining livestock. He wants to bring that dedication down to those 4-H’ers who are coming after him.

“My passion is agriculture; my passion is leading others by example,” Ariens said about the impact he wants to have in 4-H. “I really want to set a good example for those younger kids.

“Me being an eight-year member, I feel like those kids look up to me a lot,” Ariens added, “so I really just want to set a good example and say, ‘Hey, when you’re older, you’re gonna get to do this, and it’s just completely awesome.’”

Ariens, an incoming junior, is the eighth-straight North Putnam student, and the 17th in the last 21 years, to take the Supreme Showman honor at the Putnam County 4-H Fair.


Putnam County Supreme Showmanship winners

2020: Seth Ariens, Dairy
2019: Katie Fry, Beef
2018: Grace Fry, Sheep
2017: Brynne Shuee, Swine
2016: Jessica Hays, Goat
2015: Nolan Ensor, Swine
2014: Lauren Johnston, Sheep
2013: Preston Porter, Dairy
2012: Emily Gilley, Horse & Pony
2011: Logan Pell, Horse & Pony
2010: Garret Porter, Dairy
2009: Brock Jones, Sheep
2008: Kyle Alcorn, Beef
2007: Dakota Parent, Sheep
2006: Kalen Brattain, Swine
2005: Jordan Berry, Sheep
2004: Neal Knapp, Sheep
2003: Ashley Clifford, Beef
2002: Dustin Thornberg, Swine
2001: Rhonda Gottschalk, Beef
2000: Keri Jackson, Swine
1999: Tiffany Tippin, Beef
1998: Ryan Hendricks, Sheep
1997: Tammy Gottschalk, Swine
1996: Kyleen Jensen, Beef
1995: Paul Hodgen, Beef
1994: Sara Stanley, Beef
1993: Mike Jackson, Swine
1992: Robert Hodgen, Beef
1991: Jim Bowling, Swine
1990: Doug Parent, Beef
1989: Brent Branneman, Swine
1988: Jenny Merkel, Beef
1987: Jenny Jessup, Goat
1986: Jeff Stanley, Sheep
1985: Charles Poynter, Swine
1984: Tony Stanley, Beef
1983: Brian Williams, Beef
1982: Andy Beck, Beef
1981: Brad Davies, Swine
1980: Lisa Sutherlin, Horse & Pony
1979: Jeff Davies, Swine
1978: Jake Zaring, Beef
1977: Gary Williams, Beef
1976: Brad Cash, Dairy
1975: Jerry Torr, Beef
1974: Gordon Smith, Swine
1973: Phillip Fry, Swine
1972: Terry Tippin, Dairy
1971: David Bruner, Sheep
1970: Beverly Hurst, Sheep
1969: Steve Judy, Dairy
1968: Kent Brattain, Swine
1967: Ken Carrington, Beef
1966: Robert New, Sheep
1965: Ralph Fry, Dairy
1964: Keith Carrington, Beef
1963: Bill Judy, Dairy
1962: Noble New, Sheep
1961: Tommy Hendricks, Sheep
1960: Frank Hartman, Beef
1959: Ted Britton, Beef
1958: Neil Irwin, Swine
1957: Byron Gough, Beef
1956: Bowen Akers, Beef
1955: Charles Nicholson, Dairy
1954: Bernie Harris, Sheep
1953: Gordon Whitman, Beef
1952: Ken Torr, Beef

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