LIMA — Between an elephant, Superman and Donald Trump, 11-year-old Jaycee Parent didn’t expect her pony, Champ, to take first place in the Allen County Fair’s equine costume contest held Thursday morning.
“I saw everybody’s costume, and I was like, ‘Wow.’ I wasn’t even expecting to win,” Parent said after securing her blue ribbon.
But while her costume may not have been as extensive as some of the others, the story surrounding it convinced the judges.
For a laugh, Parent entered Champ into the contest wearing a sandwich board sign that read “Pony for sale. Great for little girls.” Parent accompanied him with a broken arm in a sling, and she hobbled along with a crutch while wearing extra bandages and a leg brace.
As Parent explained, the pony had bucked her off onto the ground this past June, and the tumble broke her arm.
“I landed on (my arm) wrong,” Parent said. “It was not a very fun summer.”
After being pastured for six years, Champ is kind of a grump, Parent said.
Other horses and ponies in the contest were more accommodating. During their fittings in a nearby barn prior to the show, Harvey and Buddy, who ended up placing second and third in the contest, enjoyed their transformations into “the world’s largest turkey” and the horse version of Dumbo the elephant.
“She loves it. She really does,” Harvey’s handler Stacy Agler said while patting the horse on her fabric-covered flank. “She just likes attention. She’s a big baby.”
By the end of her fitting, Harvey entered the show arena beaked and feathered. Her rider was 9-year-old Chloe Agler, who experienced her first year in 4-H this year.
“It was a tremendous learning experience for her,” Stacy said. “We spend five to six hours a day in the barn with her projects and they taught her about horses.”
As for the costume contest, Chloe said she enjoyed coming up with the turkey idea and stuffing the pool noodles into the frame that held up Harvey’s feathers.
In comparison, third place winner 15-year-old Savannah Sizemore was a horse costume contest veteran. Her horse, Buddy, participated at least six other times, and this year, his Dumbo costume highlighted a trick where he balanced his front half on a small platform.
It’s not the first time Buddy entered the costume contest with a circus theme. Past years saw Sizemore and six and seven friends — some dressed as clowns and a ringmaster — go with Buddy into the ring.
“It’s just really fun to have a whole bunch of people out there,” Sizemore said.
Sizemore said during her time in 4-H she has enjoyed learning and helping others learn more about horses.
“It teaches you a lot about how people interact with horses,” Sizemore said. “You learn off each other.”
Other entries in the horse costume contest included horses dressed up like Trump supporters, soldiers, mermaids, beach-goers and a bride and groom.
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.