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Indiana livestock judges win Western Nationals

Members of the Columbia City FFA livestock judging team
BEST AT DENVER: Members of the Columbia City FFA livestock judging team include (from left) coach Greg Rupert, Dillon Sheiss, Abbi Schrader, assistant coach Jacquelyn Werstler, Grace Schrader, Robby Sheets and FFA advisor Skylar Campbell.
Both FFA and 4-H teams from Columbia City take top honors at Denver this year.

By Skylar Campbell

The Columbia City FFA livestock judging team and the Columbia City 4-H livestock judging team both brought home first-place honors from the Western National Roundup in Denver earlier this year.

These teams from Indiana earned the right to compete in Denver by winning their respective state judging contests in May at Purdue University.

In the national competition, the teams evaluated 12 classes of different species of livestock, with each class consisting of four animals. Classes included cattle, sheep, meat goats and pigs. Team members were required to give six sets of oral reasons. The reasons allow the competitors to defend themselves in terms of why they placed the classes the way they did.

TOPS IN 4-H: The first-place Columbia City 4-H team at Denver includes (from left) coach Greg Rupert, Evan Pettigrew, Brad Johnson, Devin Baker, Maddie Schroeder, assistant coach Jacquelyn Werstler and FFA advisor Skylar Campbell.

Practice pays
The Columbia City teams practiced a lot for these contests, beginning with practices twice per week after school until the end of October. They competed in the Stockman Contest held by Roger Carr and Clinton Central FFA in Michigantown, Ind. After bringing home first place, the students were given time to relax. Practice resumed the week after Thanksgiving.

OVERALL FFA WINNER: Abbi Schrader, a member of the first-place Columbia City FFA livestock judging team at Denver, also brought home honors as high individual on the FFA side of the contest.

Once in Denver the first week of January, they viewed Western livestock, starting their workout journey at a feedlot and a farm with high-quality beef heifers.

The teams also practiced one day at Colorado State University, looking at 12 classes the CSU livestock team and coaches had prepared for anyone who wanted to practice before the national contest.

A lot of time and dedication were put into this contest. The students had lofty goals. They worked hard and took this opportunity very seriously. Team members hope the 2018 livestock judging season ends just as the year started, excelling in something they love.

Campbell is the vo-ag instructor and FFA advisor at Columbia City High School.

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