The Colorado State University Livestock Judging Team has been crowned Reserve National Champion at the National Collegiate Livestock Judging Contest, tailing the champion squad by just nine out of 5,000 possible points.
"This is fabulous," says Kevin Pond, head of the CSU Department of Animal Sciences. "This achievement is a tremendous reflection of our students' talents and persistence, and we are very proud of the learning and teamwork they have demonstrated at the national finals."
The team from Oklahoma State University edged out the CSU team for top honors, winning the championship during the contest held at the North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, KY.
Rounding up the top five teams were Western Illinois University, Texas Tech University, and Texas A&M University.
A total of 28 teams, representing the nation's best ag colleges, competed in the national championship. Students evaluated classes of market cattle, swine and other animals.
The CSU Livestock Judging Team finished second overall in swine competition, third in sheep and seventh in oral reasons, a consistency that put them in the spot of reserve champion.
The high-pressure contest requires extensive knowledge of livestock physiology, market demands and consumer preferences, as well as persuasive public speaking abilities on the part of the contestants.
Shane Bedwell, CSU Animal Sciences instructor, served as team coach. "These students are smart and very talented," he says. "Employers call every year and want to know who is on the judging team who is graduating, because these students are leaders."
The top team placements went to Kaycee Vollmar, of Mills, Wyo., Cody Gifford, Lovell, Wyo., Whitney Darr, Douglas, Wyo., Derrick Brown of Wellington, Colo., and Jayson Foley of Kaycee, Wyo.
Also competing on the team were Bryant Benson of Stratton, Colo.; Barbra Davis, Center, Colo.; Ross Lohr, Gill, Colo., and Megan Semler, Bayfield, Colo.