By Brenda L. Holmes
DANVILLE — The Hendricks County 4-H Fair has a new supreme showman — Devan Cox of Clay Township.
The Supreme Showmanship competition held each year pits the showmanship winners of each species — goats, sheep, beef, dairy, and horse/pony — against each other.
The other five competitors were Luke Stephenson, son of Chuck and Jane Stephenson, a 10-year member from Center Township; Zack Stout, son of Jeff and Maureen Stout, a nine-year member from Marion Township; Emily Tepe, daughter of Anthony and Denise Tepe, a six-year member from Union Township; Lacey Thomas, daughter of Dave and Debbie Thomas, a 10-year member from Marion Township; and Traci Smith, daughter of Laura Smith, a 10-year member from Marion Township.
Devan fulfilled a long-time goal in winning the big trophy. His sister, Jennifer Cox, won supreme showman in 2006, the first year it was held at the new fairgrounds. She surprised her little brother by showing up at the contest after driving all the way from Ames, Iowa, to see him compete.
“I wanted to surprise him,” she said. “It’s like a seven- or eight-hour drive so I was able to leave this morning and get here about an hour for the show.”
Devan, 17, a nine-year member, said he was shocked to see her.
“I had just texted her to ask if I could fly her back could she come,” he said. “She said no she couldn’t. Then I walked back to the barn and there she was.”
He said seeing her win the contest in 2006 gave him the goal to participate and go for the top title. This was the third year he was in the competition.
“My mood coming into tonight was good,” he said. “I just thought that whoever comes out and does the best will walk away the winner.”
He said he just couldn’t quit smiling.
“This has been my goal for a long time and I pushed hard,” he said.
Devan’s 4-H Club leader, Dawn West, said he was prepared and calm.
“He did a wonderful job,” West said. “He was much more relaxed this year. I tell them that just comes with age. With time, they become more familiar with the animals. And Devan has also spent a lot of time in other shows — national and local. He did more than 4-H.”
Devan’s parents, Holly and Larry Cox, were also very proud of his performance. The Cox family is originally from Indianapolis.
“We moved to Coatesville in 1996 to get away from the city,” his mother, Holly Cox, said. “4-H has been a good family activity we could all do together.”
She said she was pleased with how well Devan did after having a difficult beginning to fair week.
“It’s been stressful,” she said. “He lost a pig that was supposed to be here, just before we came. The heat has been difficult too. He worked so hard at it. I’m just so proud of him.”
His grandmother, Pauline Cox, also attended the competition.
“He’s my youngest grandson,” Pauline said. “He just did so well.”
Jennifer had to make a quick exit to begin driving back to Iowa where she needed to be at work on Friday. She graduated from the University of Kentucky in May and has taken a job with Dow AgroSciences as an ag/chem sales representative.
“I’m just so proud of him,” she said of her brother. “He’s grown up into such a great young man. This means the world to him.”