One of the teaching methods recommended in 4-H is judging. Judging may be included in almost any project and it is an important event in some of the 4-H projects. The major reason to include judging in projects is that it helps members learn to make decisions. Decision making is a life skill that is enhanced as result of participating in judging. It is more than just learning subject matter, which is learned as result of judging.
One of the areas for judging is livestock. Members enrolled in any of the livestock projects, beef, swine, sheep and goats participate in livestock judging. Over the years there have been a large number of members learning more about livestock as result of participating in 4-H livestock judging. This results in making better selections when these members or former members select livestock for their farm or for their projects. This could be a major factor ln the high quality of livestock exhibited at the youth fair and seen on the farms in Vernon County.
In the livestock contest there are usually four individual animals in the class and the participants attempt to rank the animals from top to bottom. Their results are compared to those of an official judge, or official team of judges. They also give reasons -- justifying why they placed the class the way they did. This is beneficial in the development of communication skills; in a contest the reasons count 50 percent and the placement counts 50 percent.
During my career as an area 4-H youth specialist, I had a lot of great experiences. One of those experiences was taking a livestock judging team from Vernon County to the National 4-H Judging Contest held in Denver. The team earned the opportunity as result of participating in the state contest. Participating in the national contest was a valuable experience for the members and for me.
I was listed at the contest as the coach. I really was not the coach, but the chaperone. Carl Johnson and the late Lester Parrish, a livestock specialist, had spent a great amount of time with the judging team preparing them for the contest. The team consisted of Marty Miller, Kevin Dilly, Rene Wallace and Terry Foster.
We received money from the state to pay the expenses. We knew that if we flew to Denver the funds would not cover the expenses, so Mark and Harva Miller loaned us their station wagon for the trip. Mark and Harva were among the 4-H members when I first came to Vernon County.
That team went to the national contest in about 1985 or 1986 and did well in the contest.
Recently, another team from Vernon County went to the National 4-H Livestock Contest representing the state of Missouri. Marty Miller, the coach for the team, was a member of the Vernon County team from the '80s.
This team included Hailee Miller, daughter of Marty and Christi Miller; Spencer Scotten, son of Shannon and Khrista Scotten; Ty Peckman, son of Ron and Shirley Peckman and Katlyn Douglas, daughter of Shane and Jerri Douglas. With Hailee being on the team, she made for the second generation in her family to participate in the national contest, which is rather unique.
Marty attended Butler County Junior College for 1 1/2 years where he was on the livestock judging team. He went from there to SMSU where he was on the livestock judging team. Shannon Scotten was also on the team. Marty said that Shannon was helpful to him during their college experience.
Overall at the contest the team representing Missouri won fourth place. This is a high achievement for these members from Vernon County. They did well in representing Missouri.
Marty said that many of the participants in the contest were college students. Some of the states worked with 10 members in the state and then chose the top four to represent the state. Missouri was represented by a county team. Considering these differences, Marty said that he was pleased with the accomplishment of the local team.
Marty said there had been one other team from Vernon County that had gone to the national contest since he and the others went in the '80s.
He said that one of the differences this time is that parents went to the contest, which they did not do when we went. The parents that went this year in addition to Marty and Christi were Krista, Shirley, Shane and Jerri. They stayed for an extra day to see the livestock show and to do some other things. They thought that the kids might never again have the opportunity to see the show.
Spencer had many successes in the contest including finishing the fourth highest overall. The results of the contest may be viewed at www.nationalwestern.com. There are a total of 32 pages. After looking at the results and seeing how well the Missouri team, did: wow!
Congratulations go to the four team members for their success in a national contest. Spencer, Ty, Katlyn, and Hailee are all deserving of a bouquet of four leaf clovers. Thank you also goes to Marty for coaching the team and to many others who have helped the team and given support to the team, including the parents.