A Family Affair: Tuscarawas County Fair Participant Marshall Miller Proudly Carries On His Family Traditions

Marshall Miller can trace his county fair genealogy all the way back to the 1970s when his grandparents met while showing cattle. One generation later, his parents fell in love at the fair when his mother’s family was there showing lambs and steer. A few years later, baby Marshall was born. He reflects, “You could say, I was literally born into the livestock world and fair as my older brother Mason was already showing when I was born. I had a playpen in the barn set up during lambing season and have just always been around the animals.”

Traditions Across Generations

17-year-old Marshall is now a 3rd generation member of the Buckhorn Buckeyes 4-H Club and has amassed experience, knowledge, and accomplishments. While his first memory of the Tuscarawas County Fair is worrying that he was in “a heap of trouble” after wandering away from his parents, only to be found by the sheriff deputy, he’s now an experienced livestock showman.  Marshall’s proudest moment, “would have to be winning Grand Champion Market Lamb and Grand Champion Market Goat back to back years in 2021 and 2022 at the fair.”

Marshall has grown up living at the fair each year and this year will be no different. He and his family, “have a camper that we take and it’s nice to have a quiet place to work on homework, eat a home-cooked meal, or grab a much needed break.” Each year his family gets lambs and goats in mid-March and keep them through mid-November when we show at the North American Livestock Expo in Louisville, KY. 

Hours of Preparation and Miles of Travel

Marshall spends 6 hours a day, 7 days a week caring for his 6 lambs and 2 goats. He treats them like athletes:  feeding them proper rations, caring for their hide and wool, practicing for showmanship, and exercising so they can stand up to the rigors of showing during the heat of the year and traveling. They will travel to about six states for shows during the year, including the Ohio State Fair in July and our Tuscarawas County fair in September. This year, he is looking forward to going to the American Royal Livestock show in Kansas City, MO in October, which he anticipates will be a new and exciting experience.

Traveling along with Marshall will be his mother, Nikki, who Marshall describes as his, “biggest fan, coach and cheerleader.” She has raised sheep for 35 years, so she accompanies Marshall over the many miles they travel each year while his “super supportive” dad, “stays home to keep everything running.”

Where to Find Marshall at the Fair this Year

 While Marshall will be busy with his lambs and goats at the Tuscarawas County Fair this year, he will never be too busy to support his friends there as well. He plans to sip on a lemonade while snacking on a pepperoni Stromboli and of course french fries, while he enjoys the friendly competition.

“I think that it’s neat that some of my closest friends are also my biggest competition. We tend to take things super serious when it’s showtime, but remain good friends and can congratulate and be happy for someone else when it’s their turn. I feel having close friends that I compete against actually drives me to push and work harder knowing they are at home doing the same thing.”

Farm to Fork Future?

After graduating high school a year early, Marshall is excited to, “have the gift of time and freedom to explore what’s next…I’ve been so wrapped up in what’s going on now with the current set of lambs and goats in the barn I’ll be honest, I haven’t had a lot of time to speculate on the future,” he remarks.

He knows that he loves to cook and is considering culinary school. He’d also love to travel, taste new foods, and experience unique cultures. Still, Marshall appreciates, not only home cooking, but with food that is locally sourced, humanely raised,  in-season, and sustainably grown.

“I see a real benefit to eating as locally as possible and as in season as one can. The shorter distance and the more organically the foods were grown or raised is better in my eyes. Our last beef that was born and raised here was grown and finished on grass and it was the best tasting beef we ever had.”

Marshall dreams of finding a way to combine his passions with the 3 generations worth of wisdom and experience from his family legacy to give the public a farm to fork experience. If there’s a farm to fork restaurant in Marshall’s future, I will put my reservation in now!





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