Preparing for national competition
PERRY – Dallas County 4-H youths are gaining lifetime experiences as well as having some fun on the side as they work their way up to competing on a national level.
The 14 youths who comprise the Dallas County 4-H livestock judging team have been working diligently to earn top honors at several contests with eight of those team members earning their way to national contests coming up next month and another one in January.
Emily Brewer, Dallas County 4-H livestock judging team coach, said the team was formed in 2007 and most of the original team members are still participating.
Brewer said eight of the 14 members, forming two four-person teams, earned first and second place finishes at the state 4-H livestock judging contest held Aug. 27 in Ames.
Because of their top finishes, the teams will be competing at the National 4-H Livestock Judging Contest next month in Louisville, Ken., and at the National Western in Denver, Colo., in January.
The first-place team members are Noah Taylor, Bryce Tiffany, Michael Tiffany and Cody Jimmerson. The second-place team members are Rachel Hoy, Hannah Taylor, Eric Taylor and Jack Kelly.
The overall livestock judging team, Brewer said, usually tries to practice once a week at different times of the year.
Local livestock producers allow the team access to their farms, where the youths sharpen their beef, sheep and swine judging skills.
Although they put in numerous hours for shows held throughout Iowa and surrounding states, Brewer said, being a part of an award-winning 4-H livestock judging team isn’t necessarily all work and no play.
“I think its fun going places with friends,” said Rachel Hoy.
“I like the trips,” said Eric Taylor. “We all get along and always have fun and it’s nice to win, too.”
In addition to having fun, the teammates agree they are gaining knowledge of, and experience about, livestock that they hope to carry into other areas of 4-H and possibly into their adult careers.
Eric Taylor said that he has a definite interest in pursuing livestock judging at a collegiate level.
“I’m interested in livestock and show livestock,” said Bryce Tiffany, “and now I’m in my fourth year as a part of the livestock team and it has helped when it comes to picking out my calves each year.”
Hannah Taylor also thinks being a part of the Dallas County 4-H livestock judging team has helped further her livestock expertise.
“We raise sheep and cattle and it’s helped to go out (for the team) to better our own livestock herd,” Taylor said. “We’re gaining skills to use in the agricultural field and livestock industry some day.”
The saying there is no “I” in “team” stands true for the two teams representing Dallas County.
“We all have our own expertise so we help each other out,” said Eric Taylor.
At a competition, after check-in, the teams are split into groups away from other teammates and then are led around to different classes to judge animals then it’s time to turn in the score cards.
Many times the kids will present oral reasons as to their animal rankings and participate in question and answer sessions.
“It’s really helped with my public speaking,” said Michael Tiffany.
Brewer said she decided to become a coach after joining a team in college.
“I grew up in Dallas County and was on a team in college and loved it, so I wanted to come back and start a 4-H team,” she said.
Contact Kriss Nelson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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