We caught up with showmanship judge Payton Dahmer before he steps “Inside the Ring” at the American Royal. We invite you to read our candid interview with Payton below and please continue to check back often for our next edition of “Inside the Ring – Showmanship Edition.”
How important are first impressions to you?
First impressions are everything, not just in the show ring, but in life. At a national show especially, you have to establish yourself as a top tier showman the minute you enter that gate by having confidence.
What age do you think is the hardest to judge? Why?
I don’t know that a certain age group is more challenging to judge than another. However, I typically expect more out of the older showmen just because they have more experience under their belt than the little ones most of the time.
Do you think switching sides often is crucial in showmanship?
This might be an unpopular opinion, but to me switching sides isn’t that crucial. If you can switch and show on the other side without it looking unnatural and taking away from your sheep, then go for it. But to me, showmanship is all about making that critter look 100%, and sometimes we get so caught up in ‘showmanship rules’ like switching sides that it actually makes the sheep look worse.
Is there anything you may do when it’s down to the last few showmen?
I don’t typically do a lot of fancy things in showmanship, even when it gets down to the last few. For me, you just have to make a good entrance and then be consistent in how you do things.
What’s your life at home look like?
Every day is different, and many aren’t actually spent at home. Most of the week I spend in the classroom teaching students or practicing with my judging team. I then spend nearly every weekend on the road with the judging team or at a stock show somewhere. Its hectic, but I wouldn’t trade it!
What’s one show you look forward to every year?
The American Royal is a show that I always look forward to since it’s in my home state and a place I showed at every year growing up. Getting to step into the ring in Kansas City is something I don’t take lightly and am very excited for!