Annual state livestock judging contest brings more than 100 youth to MU campus

The University of Missouri is home to a lot of things: the first homecoming, students from all 50 states and even the 2018 winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

MU is also home to the annual State 4-H Livestock Judging Contest. On Sept. 7, 2019, 145 4-H members gathered at Trowbridge Arena to evaluate eight classes of livestock and deliver oral reasons to vie for the state championship title.

Grand Champion Senior Livestock Judging Team from Pike County. From left to right: George Niemeyer, Clint Bailey, Lexi Koelling and Callie Bailey.

This event is coordinated by 4-H Livestock Specialist, Ty Peckman, in conjunction with the animal sciences department and MU livestock judging team. Not only is it designed to bring 4-H members together from across the state, but it also unites them under a common passion — livestock evaluation.

“My favorite thing about livestock judging is that you get to work on a team,” said Myles Massey, a junior competitor from Jasper County. “I have learned how to make decisions and evaluate livestock.”

Though Massey was not on the winning team, he said, “I learn something new every competition I go to.”

MU’s Livestock Judging Team, and various volunteers led participants in small groups all day. Kristina Nadler, a current animal science major and member of the MU livestock judging team was among the group leaders and evaluated contestants’ oral reasons. Nadler was not involved in judging before she came to college but credits many of her current skills to joining the livestock judging team in college.

“I have learned about public speaking; you are expected to talk about a wide range of things in a short amount of time to various people,” Nadler said.

4-H members have the opportunity to participate and represent their county at the state level through various events. Many of these events focus on public speaking, teamwork and professional development.

When the dust settled, quite literally, on the dirt floor of Trowbridge Arena, two teams filtered to the top. In the senior division, residents of Pike County took home the victory. The team was comprised of four members: Lexi Koelling, Clint Bailey, George Niemeyer and Callie Bailey. In the junior division, Vernon County was the top team. Members included: Brayden Gast, Mason Forkner, Olivia Walrod and Zoey Williams.