Bonnie Ayars, Dairy Judging Teams Coach and Extension Youth Specialist, The Ohio State University
Fall always brings an extensive travel schedule with collegiate and 4-H dairy judging teams.
Although we always hope for positive results, we also need to remember the life skills that are learned, the priceless experiences on farm visits out of state, and the networking with other students. It is a commitment that requires time, energy, and determination to step outside of one’s comfort zone.
The 4-H primary team is composed of four young ladies: Meghan Thurston (Delaware County), Laura Bond (Trumbull County), Emily Dudash (Champaign County), and Hillary Jackson Hayman (Logan County). Meghan and Laura are students at ATI and Emily and Hillary are both at Ohio State, Columbus. This team represents many years of participation in judging clinics and the State contest. They are hardly novices and that experience was evident at the Pennsylvania All American Dairy Show contest held on September 17th in Harrisburg. Not only were they the 1st place team (by 36 points), they also all placed in the top 10 overall high individuals. Emily was 2nd, Hillary 4th, Laura 5th, and Meghan in 8th place. The team was 3rd in oral reasons and Emily was 2nd with her 4 sets of reasons, followed by Hillary in 4th. The “angels” (our nickname) were also 1st as a team with Guernsey, 2nd in Holstein, and in the top 5 for each breed. We extend congratulations to each of these young ladies as well as the parents, volunteers, and educators who have contributed to their training.
Two OSU teams competed at Eastern States which is an excellent warm up contest prior to Harrisburg. We also spent 3 days visiting farms in New York and Connecticut. Marc Bolen, Keith Gibson, Samantha Grizzell, and Lara Staples made up the primary “Scarlet” team, and Robin Alden, Jared Smith, Tyler Schonauer, and Jacqueline Sherry made up the understudy “Gray” team. The “Scarlet” team was 5th in reasons, and the “Gray” team was 4th overall, as well as being high in the Milking Shorthorn breed. At Harrisburg, only the Scarlet team competed. For Keith and Samantha, this was the first major contest in which they had ever competed! However, they are alums of the Dairy Cattle Evaluation class and have a less traditional background than Marc who is from a Jersey farm and an alum of the ATI dairy judging team that placed 2nd at Madison. The collegiate contest at Harrisburg was the largest ever hosted with 18 teams present to compete. With only 3 team members, we placed 9th overall with room to grow and improve for the national contest in Madison, WI. The “Gray” team judged ringside along with Lara who will be judging again in the future.
Many thanks to Julie Delavergne and Tom Noyes who travelled with me and the collegiate students! Also, thanks to Bernie Heisner who chaperoned and delivered the 4-H “angels” to the Harrisburg contest. Sometimes, it takes an army of volunteers to maintain the “troops” and foster their morale. Ohio is fortunate to have such a group of mentors!
The next trip is the national contest for both 4-H and collegiate teams at World Dairy Expo. You can bet that we will have our best game day attitude polished up for the event!