I had the honor of sitting down with two amazing young ladies recently: Shi Anna Whitman and Sierrah Whitman. Both of whom were extremely humbled by the fact that I wanted to chat with them about their 4-H/Williams County Fair successes. Both sisters are the daughters of Michelle & Brian Semer and Scott Whitman of rural Williams County. They are both similar in so many ways, but you cannot miss their differences either. Shi Anna and Sierrah have a passion for their Lord and Savior and they are not ashamed to express their love and admiration. (Actually when asked who their role models are, they both said “God”). While speaking with the girls, Shi Anna is a little more reserved than her more outspoken sister Sierrah.
Shi Anna and Sierrah are deeply involved with their rural route roots and have been involved with 4-H and the Williams County Fair for 8 and 11 years, respectively.
Eldest sister Shi Anna began her early involvement in the fair activities after winning a chicken and raising the chicken as a Cloverbud.
“My sister and I started out with chickens…but it was a big failure,” says Shi Anna through a chuckle. “Once I got to be a member instead of a Cloverbud, I started out with hogs my first year. And then I went into goats. “I went to an open goat show at the Williams County Fair and I saw this goat with a heart on her, and she was so adorable. I showed my mom and told her that this was the cutest goat I’ve ever seen in my life.”
After discussing the “cutest goat ever”, Shi Anna and Michelle talked with the owner to find out if they had any goats for sale.
They did. And it turned out that one of the goats for sale just happened to be the goat that Shi Anna had seen, with the heart on her side.
Shi Anna bought the goat, with money she earned herself, and named her goat “Cupid”. Cupid is now 6 years old and resides with Shi Anna.
Shi Anna shows goats at the fair and is currently an Ohio State 4-H Ambassador in which she is involved in various activities throughout the year. Her duties include being a role model for younger 4-H members and helping with goat activities at the Williams County Fair and the Ohio State Fair.
In addition to being an Ohio State 4-H Ambassador, Shi Anna is this year’s Goat Ambassador, chosen by the Ohio Dairy Goat Association, of which she is a member, as well as a member of the American Dairy Goat Association.
Her duty as Ohio Dairy Goat Ambassador is not unlike the Ohio State 4-H Ambassador. She is required to go to open goat shows and represent Ohio Dairy Goat Association. She is also required to help at the Ohio State Fair with the goat events and help the judge’s hand out the awards. She is also helping with the youth and will help judge the goat skill-a-thon this year.
Shi Anna has achieved many accolades in goat showmanship at the county and state level, received Outstanding of the Day in Small Animals, and held all offices in 4-H, Health and Safety awards and Public Speaking awards.
Sierrah Whitman, the younger sister, is a little more on the outspoken and direct side. This bubbly blonde is the Williams County Fair Horse Queen.
“He [stepdad Brian] had horses and I fell in love with them.
“I started doing goats first because she started doing goats first and I thought I wanted to do it. But I wanted to do horses.
“I had my first pony and I named her “Dreamer”. I started showing [horses], but she was kind of crazy! I wanted to start showing goats again so we sold her and I started on goats again.
“I had to keep working to get another horse to show that I was ready for a new horse and that I wasn’t going to get rid of it again for goats.”
In order for Sierrah to obtain the title of Horse Queen, she had to do a lot of studying of horses.
“You have to study A LOT! There are a lot of things you have to know to win it. You have to study breeds and saddle parts and bridle parts. You have to know a lot.
She achieved the highest score of the other young ladies that also tried winning the title.
Sierrah’s Horse Queen duties are not unlike Shi Anna’s duties as Goat Ambassador. She is required to go to local open horse shows and help the judge’s hand out the awards.
Sierrah loves riding horses. “It makes you feel free,” she says.
She loves everything about 4-H; getting together with groups, meetings and working together “to do different things”.
In addition to horses, Sierrah also won the county award for Bee Keeping, and went onto state also. She has also won awards in Horticulture, Horse Speed events, Flower Arranging, Citizenship. She is also a 4-H County Ambassador.
Being completely honest in true Shi Anna-fashion, she stated what she loves about 4-H: making money.
She has made money by raising market goats and selling them. Money is also made when they step into the arena while showing a goat and acquire premiums that way.
“It adds up, every project you do.
“It’s awesome making money, while having fun and you get to see your friends. Its fun hanging with your friends and getting to meet new people; you never know who you are going to meet. It’s kind of like a mystery,” says Shi Anna.
Shi Anna is saving her money for a BMW.
“My money basically goes [to buy] feed,” adds Sierrah.
Their futures are undecided. And they are learning skills at their young ages to help them with any path their lives lead them on. Sports and fun-filled activities can only take them so far. The skills they are learning in 4-H: leadership, finances, ethics and the respect of animals and other creatures can teach them so much more.
“Their hearts are kind and generous. They work hard when they want to achieve their goals. I’m so very proud of the young ladies they are becoming,” states Michelle. “They’re great kids! I’m so blessed!”
Both of these outstanding sisters know who they are. They are truly original spirits and not always wanting to conform to what’s popular. In the time we are chatting over fresh fruit and veggies, it is very apparent that they are humble.
They will go far in life, as they keep their upbringing in the foreground and always remember the lessons they learn in the arena.