Hadley LeVan took a deep breath and exhaled as he accepted his trophy as the 2015 King of the Ring winner on Thursday at the Champaign County Fair. Finally, the pressure that he’d put on himself to win this competition could be released.
“It’s awesome,” he said. “It’s my second year doing it. And I had to win it my second year because that’s what my brother did, was win it his second year,” LeVan said.
Hank LeVan won the competition in 2011.
The competition was a close one, with four exhibitors scoring more than 65 points out of a possible 90. LeVan came out on top with 71 points.
Mary Jenkins had 69 points, Annie Springer had 68, Matthew Goddard had 67 and Sydney Eggleston had 62.
The 2015 edition of the King of the Ring had a new look from years past. An epidemic of avian illness kept poultry away from the fair, so the organizers replaced the birds with llamas to show.
LeVan scored perfect 10s in both the steer and feeder categories, while also securing a 9 in the heifer showing. His lowest score was a 6, in the goat showmanship.
“It’s been hard. You go to all these different species and you meet all these new people,” LeVan said. “I went throughout the week and got the help that I needed and then today I went to all of them again and refreshed my memory.”