This past Thursday (1/17/19), 52 collegiate teams from across the nation gathered at the National Western Stock Show to compete at one of the most prestigious livestock judging competitions in the country.
At a typical collegiate livestock competition, there are a total of 12 classes of animals, including cattle, lambs, goats, and hogs. The competitors evaluate each class and “mark their cards” by ranking the animals first through fourth. They then move into the oral reasons portion of the competition, where the contestants speak on why they placed the animals in the order they did. For this part of the competition, eight sets of oral reasons are given including four classes on cattle, two on hogs, and two on lambs and goats.
Kinder Harlow, a sophomore and livestock judging team member at Connors State College, said that the livestock competition at the National Western this year was one of the toughest competitions he has participated in to-date.
According to Harlow, “judging livestock teaches you self-discipline, how to think on your feet and how to defend yourself. Spending at least, if not more than, 20 hours a week practicing for a competition makes you realize the true meaning of hard work. I have been fortunate enough to be a part of a team that has had a tremendous amount of success. Being able to feel the reward of the countless hours spent preparing for a competition is something that never gets old.”
The competition ended on Friday (1/18/19) night with the awards banquet. The Butler Community College from El Dorado, Kansas, won high team overall in the Junior College Division. Western Illinois University, located in Macomb, Illinois, was announced high team overall in the Senior College Division.
Guest Blogger: Emily Smith, National Western Marketing Intern
Photos by: Mary Frost and Whitney Whitaker, National Western Livestock Media Scholars