The Virginia 4-H Livestock Judging Team placed first and the Virginia 4-H Livestock Skillathon Team placed third at the recent North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, Kentucky. The event is the world’s largest purebred livestock show.
The Livestock Judging Team competed against 34 other teams in the 91st National 4-H Livestock Judging Contest and was the highest scoring team overall, with 2,525 points, followed by teams from Illinois and Georgia. As the 2015 National Champion 4-H Livestock Judging Team, the team is eligible to represent the United States at the Royal Highland Show in Scotland in June, along with the second-and third-place teams.
The Virginia team also placed first in cattle, fifth in swine, third in sheep and goat, and third in reasons.
Individual awards were garnered by Blake Hopkins, who placed fifth overall, eighth in sheep and goat, and 12th in beef cattle; Hannah Craun, who placed third overall, second in beef and performance cattle, and 11th in reasons; and Sarah Harris, who placed eighth in reasons, ninth in beef cattle, and 17th overall. Craun, Hopkins, and Harris were also named All-Americans for placing in the top 20 overall.
“The teams performed phenomenally well overall and individually,” said David Roper, 4-H youth livestock Extension specialist with Virginia Cooperative Extension and coach of the Livestock Judging Team. “I am very proud of all the work the students put into this competition and how they represented the state.”
The livestock team will travel to Europe in June 2016 and will be fundraising for the trip until then. In addition to participating in the Royal Highland Show, the group will have the opportunity to visit several other European countries to learn about their agriculture systems.
The Livestock Skillathon Team also performed well at the North American. The team placed second in identification and quality assurance, sixth in evaluation, and third overall.
Individually, John-Robert Hensley placed first in quality assurance, second in identification, and third overall; Hailey Shoemaker placed eighth in quality assurance and 10th overall; and Gracie Bailey placed 18th overall.
The Virginia 4-H Foundation’s 4-H Livestock Youth Development Endowment provided support for the teams’ travels this past fall.
The 2015 Virginia 4-H Livestock Judging Team from left, front row: Hannah Craun, Blake Hopkins, Sarah Harris, and Caley Ellington. Back row: Doyle Wolverton, sponsor; David Roper, youth livestock Extension specialist; and Todd Conway, a sponsor from Westway Foods.