Writer / Allison Yates
Photography provided by Indiana State Fair
When Hamilton Heights High School sophomore Lane Slaton was invited to speak at the Indiana State Fair’s 3rd Annual Harvest Dinner held on August 16, he had no idea that he would also be celebrating that night.
In front of a crowd of more than 650 guests, including Governor Eric Holcomb, Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch and “Papa John” Schnatter, founder, chairman and CEO of Papa John’s Pizza , Slaton spoke about what it means to be a champion.
Now in his seventh year in 4-H, Slaton has showed cattle, pigs and sheep for years. Both his mother and father, Gail and Jason Slaton, have strong roots in the agricultural world. Each year in January and February, Slaton and his father travel across the U.S. in search of the livestock Slaton will show at that year’s fairs. Jason says Lane picks them out, already knowing which animals will perform well, even when they are just a few days old.
Jason described Lane’s abilities in 4-H as a “killer instinct,” but this talent didn’t come out of nowhere.
In his speech, Slaton told the crowd what he had sacrificed all summer – all the days and nights in the barn without rest – and how hard work and determination make one a champion. It isn’t always fun, nor easy, he mentioned, but it pays off.
Quoting Lane Frost, for whom he is named, Slaton said, “Don’t be afraid to go after what you want to do, and what you want to be. But don’t be afraid to be willing to pay the price.”
At this year’s state fair, Slaton proved that hard work produces results. He took home the title of Grand Champion Market Lamb, Supreme Livestock Showman, Champion Commercial Ewe and that ewe ended up being third overall.
After years of dedication, these victories, Slaton said in his speech, fulfilled his biggest dreams.
“Everyone knows he’s tried, and tried and tried to win the thing,” Jason says. “I know how much work he puts into that, and to finally see that pay off, it’s emotion. But the bigger part is seeing how humble he is.”
Slaton is also a member of Future Farmers of America (FFA) and Business Professionals of America (BPA) and hopes to go to either Purdue University, Kansas State University or the University of Iowa to study nutrition.
Knowing that many younger 4-H members look up to him, Slaton wants to be a positive role model and set a good example for them. He already has.