January 25, 2012 § Leave a Comment
I’ve asked each of my teammates to write a few paragraphs introducing themselves, talking about their plans, and their experiences on the judging team. There will be a total of four “Meet the Judging Team” posts, with two members featured in each.
My name is Katelyn Cook but most just call me Katie! I attended high school in Goodrich, Michigan, where I participated in National Honors Society, Soccer, Cross County, Equestrian Team, Powerlifting, and Marching Band. As well, my two sisters and I had a full time job taking care of a small six acre farm where we raised our 4H animals including horses, hogs, lambs, dairy feeder calves, and poultry. I started showing at the Genesee County Fair as soon as I was old enough. This love of showing continued as I went on to compete a handful of times at the Michigan State Fair and at the Michigan Livestock Expo.
In the fifth grade that I realized I wanted to go to “THE” Michigan State University to become a large animal Veterinarian. Low and behold, I’m now an Animal Science senior with a concentration in Animal Biology/Pre-Veterinarian Medicine. Outside of my busy course work at MSU, I am part of the only female professional agricultural sorority: Sigma Alpha, the Block and Bridle Club, and of course the 2012 Livestock Judging Team. As far as future plans… I’m still exploring my options! My sophomore year of college I flip-flopped majors a few times, testing the waters to see what else was out there. Of course, my junior year I went right back to my original major, Animal Science. Vet School is still a possibility for me in the future but my biggest career criteria is I just want to work with animals for the rest of my life! As well, I hope to be judging at county fairs, state fairs, and national shows some day.
Why I joined the team? To be honest, I really didn’t know what ‘judging’ entailed when I signed up for it! I took the pre-requisite, ANS 211 (Animal Product and Evaluation), simply because I was interested in the topic. Where I grew up we didn’t have FFA or a 4H program that encouraged judging. Even with no judging background, I somehow managed to work through the challenging semester, meeting my wonderful trio of coaches. Since practice for the 2012 judging season started in mid-December, I can tell you that this is one of the best things I’ve ever done. Yes, it’s a lot of hard work, time, late nights, and stress but it’s totally worth it! So far the best thing about judging is the people on my team! They keep me motivated and moving forward when it gets tough. We have made many new memories, grown closer in friendship, and have had lots of laughs. Can’t wait to see what the future brings!
Interesting facts about me… I went to South Africa for a study abroad trip this past summer! I was there for 28 days and got to experience things like Great White Shark diving and bungy jumping off the tallest bridge in the world!!
Hey everyone! My name is Sarah Kennedy; I am actually the 4th generation “Sarah” in my family, FUN FACT! I grew up on a small farm right outside of Saranac, Michigan where I raised show animals for my 4-H projects.
I started showing livestock when I was 7 years old and by the time I was done had experience showing sheep, goats, cattle, and hogs. My summers were dedicated to my projects as I showed in the summer jackpot series competing in the Michigan Club Lamb Associations Youth Points Challenge. I also showed at my county fair, The Michigan State Fair, Michigan Livestock Expo and at the North American International Livestock Expo in Louisville, Kentucky. As for high school I stayed very active by running Track and Field and Cross Country and was the President of our FFA chapter.
At a very early age I always told myself I wanted to be a Large Animal Vet and dreamed of going to Michigan State. Well, I made it into state but when I got here I quickly realized the Vet Program was not for me and decided I was going to major in Animal Science with a Animal Industry Specialization. I plan to graduate in May of 2013 and as for a job, well that I’m not so sure about. As long as it has anything to do with agriculture I will be more that happy! I currently work for the MSU Sheep Teaching and Research Farm and am a member of Block and Bridle, where I am the head show chair for our summer lamb show called the Northern Exposure Club Lamb Classic. Best of all I am a part of the 2012-2013 MSU Livestock Judging Team!
Judging Livestock has always been a huge interest in mine so of course I was excited when I got the chance to be a part of this great team and travel the country to see the best livestock. It has been hard work and at time I wish I was going to hang out with my friend or go up north snowmobiling and ice fishing with my brother on weekends, but when it comes down to it I wouldn’t trade the experiences I have already had for anything in the world!
January 19, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Huge thanks to my teammate Ali Harwell for writing this great post detailing the last half of our trip! Ali is a Junior at MSU majoring in Environmental Studies & Agriscience, with the intent of becoming an Ag Teacher. She is currently employed in the MSU ANR Communications department as a student writer, and will be spending the summer in Indiana interning with the National Junior Swine Association.
Day 5, Tuesday, January 10
This morning still came early to us; however we woke with excitement not because we had to give a set of reasons before we parted for the day, but that we didn’t have to pack our stuff! (Being on the road this long already, you would understand staying in one place for more than a night seems like a luxury). After a quick grab of a continental breakfast- supplied muffin, we followed Butler Community College (fromKansas) again to another workout. When we arrived at a place near Fort Collins, we were not only “wowed” with the first impression of a rock-waterfall surrounding the sign of the farm, but were also impressed with the four classes of Limousin heifers.
Excited with the “warm” forty-five degree weather, sunshine, and a beautiful view of the snow-covered Rockies, what other place would we stop to give a set of reasons than… the parking lot of a gas station. Oh well, some of us gave the best set yet on Sned’s visual progression line represented by the sidewalk crack.
Then came time that some of us would consider the best part of the day- eating a meal that seemed paramount compared to the “wonderful” (sarcasm) food so far on the trip. This consisted of a hamburger the size of Ethan Bosserd’s head, while sitting under a plastic shark suspended from the ceiling at Colorado’s Tallest Bar. Between the fried pickles, BBQ Pork, and a chance for a quality sit down meal, we were ready for judging more classes the rest of the day.
And… we sure did judge the rest of the day. In fact, a day totaling of eighteen classes, counting the workout at Colorado State University. One in which we witnessed probably the worst class of breeding gilts we’ve ever seen, but it gave us a good laugh!
Day 6, Wednesday, January 11
Today was the day that everyone told us to expect fromDenver… Fifteen degrees and snow blowing sideways. Remember how I said yesterday we were giving reasons outside with beautiful weather? Yeah, exactly. Anyway, this did NOT stop the MSU Livestock Judging Team. We judged four classes of feedlot cattle at what we were told is one of the smaller feedlots in Colorado. However, this place looks enormous compared to Michigan feedlots. After ice sickles were forming on our rosy faces, our toes thoroughly frozen, accompanied by our first class of giraffe-legged, down-eared, Brahman cattle, we were more than glad to eat at the provided lunch in a heated barn.
Once we thawed out, we headed to our hotel in downtownDenverwhere we, once again, finished the evening giving reasons and discussing tomorrow’s contest. Well and of course, lots and lots and LOTS of ironing!
Day 7, Thursday, January 12
This is it. The reason we came here. The National Western Stock Show Judging Contest started at 7:30 am that required five contestants from each team to judge twelve classes of animals and give eight sets of reasons. Ending at 8 pm does not begin to explain the long day and exhaustion. However, after we all compared our home pages (the first page in our Steno book that keeps track of our placings), we felt pretty good about the day. Not only were we are all tired, but we were definitely hungry too. The white-tablecloth restaurant we had the privilege of experiencing was undoubtedly the nicest place we had ever eaten. Not to mention, the most expensive meal we had ever eaten, but it was well worth it!
Day 8, Friday, January 13
Now that the pressure was off, it was time to have a little fun. For some of us, fun included doing the Carload contest. Jon, Sarah, Katie, Beth W, and Ali had to judge four pens of bulls and heifers, instead of just four total animals, while Taylor and Beth O volunteered to lead bulls for the classes. Even so after this contest, we still compared our home pages which included the placings of six classes and one class of questions. And again, we were happy with the job we had done. The rest of the day concluded with doing more shopping “On the Hill” and looking at the fancy, fitted-up bulls all famous for being featured in so many stud magazines, until we headed back to the hotel to get pretty for the awards banquet.
We all got dolled up, with our outfits following Cody’s rules for skirts and oral reasons… “Long enough to cover the subject, but short enough to keep it interesting”. (Well of course this didn’t apply to Jon). Even if we weren’t going to have any awards, we still wanted to be the best dressed team there. After sitting through a four hour long banquet and eating the “Mystery Meat” which looked meatloaf, but didn’t taste like it, MichiganStateUniversitystill had a lot to be proud of. We were named 6th in the Carload contest, 8th in Cattle, 10th in Hogs, and 14th overall in the contest. Although the ribbon we received was Spartan green and not winning blue, we were happy of what we had achieved for our first contest. However, watch out next time, we can nearly feel those blue ribbons in our hands.
Day 8 & 9, Saturday and Sunday, January 14 & 15
This morning we awoke with some bittersweet feelings. We were all ready to go home and see our families; however we were not ready to head back into reality (being a week behind in classes!) that faced us back in Michigan. After, doing our last minute shopping of souvenirs and looking at the stockyard of bulls, we started the venture back around noon, expecting to be back inLansingtwenty hours later around 7 am.
The trip home was long, uncomfortable, sleepless, as well as entertaining. Between the little disagreements in pit-stop locations, an emergency potty break, and some foul smells coming from the boys…we were glad to be home.
January 10, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Day 2 – Saturday, January 7 -
We left Iowa early in the morning and drove through Missouri on our way to Kansas. We worked out at an operation in Topeka, KS, that custom feeds bulls. A few classes later we climbed back in the vans and drove to Manhattan, where we checked into our hotel and went to dinner with the Hines and Olsen families.
Day 3, Sunday, January 8 -
The day started bright and early with the practice contest at K State beginning at 8 am. About 120 kids representing 4 year and junior colleges competed. It was our team’s first 12-and-8 contest, which means we judged 12 contests of sheep, cattle, hogs and boer goats, then gave 8 sets of reasons in a real contest atmosphere. The day went fairly well, with 3 of us finishing within 10 points of a 900 score (out of 1000 possible), which is a decent benchmark of where we need to be at this point in the year. After the contest we paired up with Butler Community College and drove to Limon Colorado, arriving at our hotel around midnight Colorado time (2 am in Michigan).
Day 4, Monday, January 9 -
Today we left the hotel and travelled to Longmont, CO, to attend a workout at the Vickland family’s home. They took hospitality to a whole new level, as they hosted over 12 colleges to work out on their cattle and hogs. Between the stellar mountain view from their front yard, their 25,000 square foot home, the donuts, coffee, and lunch that they provided us with, and some great contests of their highly competitive animals, it was a lot to take in. After lunch, we headed to a fairgrounds just outside of Denver where the overflow of cattle are kept before they can head to NWSS to see one more class, then wrapped up the night with 5 sets of reasons at our hotel. Excitingly enough, we’re staying at this place two consecutive nights!
“No, it’s completely natural… that’s migration.” - Sarah, in reference to geese flying overhead
“They’re so FREE! That’s why I want a sparrow tattooed on my stomach!” – Katie
“I wear sunglasses all the time. I’m afraid of getting crow’s feet.” - Hannah
“Are you contestant 1006? Yes, its ME Mario!” – Sarah
“I’m gonna move out out here and trap me some muskrats.” – Sarah
(During oral reasons at K-State practice contest) -
Official: ”Are you contestant 1007?”
Me: ”Yes, sir.”
Judge: ”Hehe. Double-oh-seven. Are you licensed to kill?”
Judge: “Oh. Sorry. You may begin whenever you’re ready”.
January 7, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Today started the MSU Livestock Judging Team’s journey to the National Western Stock Show in Denver, Colorado.
We left the pavilion at 7:00 sharp this morning, heading to Iowa for a hog workout. We stopped for lunch at the Iowa Machine Shop (quite an experience) then headed to Jayme and Scott Sieren’s farm in Keota, IA. This was the first time I’ve been to Sieren’s, even though over half of my show pigs over the last two years were either purchased from Jayme or were the offspring of purchases from him. Dad and Kevin have been out there a few times now (Kevin actually interned with Jayme for a summer), but the timing never worked out for me to join in the trips.
Six classes of hogs later, we packed back into the vans and headed west. We finally stopped for the night in Osceola, IA, and gave a set of reasons after dinner. Our adventure of the night? All seven girls are in one hotel room. Thankfully its a super large space with 3 double beds and a cot. The only problem is that there’s only one shower.
Hannah says “Meow”. Long story… maybe I can get her to explain in a guest blog post sometime.
Quotes of the day:
Hannah: ”Katie, its just a few dead kittens, it’s okay.”
Katie: ”No! I ate a hot potato!”
Sneds wife: ”I’m glad you guys have him for the next week. He might lose his pants at some point, though.”