Livestock judging team competes at nationals

For the first time in over a decade, the 4-H Livestock Judging team from Uintah County was able to beat out the state-level competitors and earn a spot to compete at the national level in Denver, Colorado in early January.

At the state level, livestock judging is done in teams of four, usually in the midsummer months during the stock show.

Each county can send a team to the state contest to compete.

During the competition, teams are required to look at classes of market goats, sheep, hogs and steers.

They rank the animals and then are required to state reasons for those rankings. A team receives 50 points for judging the class correctly and up to 50 points for the reasons your team presents.

The Uintah County team excelled over every other team at the state contest in June of 2022.

Because of that, it qualified to compete at the National Western Stock Show held in Denver in January.

Heather Jensen, USU Uintah County Extension Office administrative assistant and a 4-H volunteer shared how the livestock judging program helps the team members in several different ways. “A lot of times, these kids that participate in the livestock judging competitions will receive scholarships from colleges and universities that want them to be on their collegiate livestock judging teams,” shared Jensen.

She said that two members from this team that competed at the national competition will likely receive offers from universities to compete on their collegiate teams and attend their schools. One team member, Blake Holmes, has already received offers from three different schools. Another team member, Reagan Angus, was approached by collegiate coaches at the national competition. Jensen also shared that learning to judge livestock and competing in the

LIVESTOCK | A6 contests can also teach members important life skills.

“To get up in front of a crowd and a judge and speak confidently, defend your choices, and work together as a team are all skills that the team members develop over time,” Jensen said.

Any 4-H member in ninth through 12th grade can compete on the livestock judging team. They work for months on their skills and are coached often by collegiate livestock judging team members or former livestock judges.

The Uintah County team was coached by Denim Lister and Jayce Schiermiester. This year’s Uintah County team members included Blake Holmes, Tanner Birchell, Reagan Angus, and Susanna McKeachnie. The team beat out the other 10 counties that competed in Utah and placed 20th at the national competition.

“Winning the state competition was huge for them,” Jensen said. “They worked so hard and were finally able to come out on top of the state competition after so many years.”