From the Extension Agent’s Desk - Enjoying Agriculture

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Published Wednesday, May 17, 2017
THUMBNAIL - Jeramy McNeely
by Jeramy McNeely

Kiowa County 4-H Livestock Judging Team Ready to Wrap Up Year

For those of you that are not aware, Kiowa County 4-H began steps to revitalize the livestock judging program.  Practices began earlier this year with an introduction to livestock judging held at the extension office meeting room.  Brooklyn Jones, Molly Stolzenberger, Chase Stolzenberger, Hatch Nelson, and Owen Sorter stepped forward to help get the program started.  Emily, Alexa, and Clayton Nelson had already signed up for judging before we had a program, so they were showing with Lincoln County this year. Soon after, they began practicing every other week, including a live animal practice north of Limon.  Emily, Alexa, Clayton, and Owen attended a judging clinic in Brush as well.  When they weren't judging live animals, they used other tools like YouTube and slides to place their classes and learn the art of giving reasons.

With a little knowledge under their belt, their first big contest was in Lincoln County.  It was a great experience for the judgers to get a taste of how judging works and to see how the other counties who have a tradition of having great judging teams dressed and carried themselves.  Chase, Owen, and Clayton did very well in the junior novice competition and brought home ribbons with Hatch, Emily, and Alexa scoring very well in the Junior and Senior Divisions.

After Lincoln County came the Logan County Invitational in Sterling.  This was a lot bigger show and the competition was very stiff.  Chase and Owen went up the night before so they could wake up refreshed and ready while Alexa and Clayton came up the next morning.  Coach Taylor, from Lincoln County, and I agreed that most of the quality, experiential learning probably happened in the hotel room.

From there, Molly, Chase, Alexa, and Clayton attended the Elbert County contest.  Again, some great competition came to this event as well with Clayton doing well once again in the novice division. From here, the Nelson's will be going to Gunnison for a show and I know Emily will be judging at the State Convention.  We will post you on how she does up there!

All in all, it was a great first season with most of the judgers doing it for the very first time.  I'm very proud to have been their coach and they represented Kiowa County very well.  We will build from this year's experiences and with any luck grow the program.  Hopefully we can get more members involved next year and have them ready to judge in both 4-H and FFA for many years to come.

I would like to thank all the parents, Travis Taylor, and Lindsey Todd for taking time out of your busy schedules to help these judgers get their feet wet.  I am hopeful that livestock judging in our county can become an area where kids can have fun, become competitive, and have opportunities to get college scholarships.  It doesn't stop there however.  I also hope their experiences in public speaking, critical thought, decision making, character development, confidence building, and in meeting new people will help provide a positive outcome in their education and their work lives as well.