By Ashley Sprengeler
The Dane County Senior Dairy Judging Team took top honors at the State 4-H Senior Dairy Judging Contest at the Polk County Fair in St. Croix Falls on July 25.
Senior contestants placed 10 classes and delivered four sets of oral reasons. Dane County's team members were Ben Sarbacker, Kelly Sime, Abbey Wethal, and Laura Elliott. Bill Hageman, Eric Olstad, and Mitch Breunig coached the team.
St. Croix County placed second overall, edging three points ahead of third-place Dodge County. St. Croix's runner-up finish earned them the opportunity to represent Wisconsin at the National Contest at World Dairy Expo on Sept. 29. The team of Jake Kruschke, Jill Cowles, Tom Zwald, and Kendra Mitchell was coached by Bob Zwald and Chuck Kruschke.
Dodge County earned the trip to the All-American Youth Dairy Judging Contest in Harrisburg, Penn. on Sept. 15. Kyle Natzke, Ty Hildebrandt, Shawn Nehls and Aaron Bohn make up the Dodge County squad. Kevin Jorgensen along with Todd and Christa Wendorf coaches the Dodge County team.
Five points separated the top three senior individuals. Danielle Brown of Iowa County took home first-place individual honors, placing four points ahead of Kelly Sime of Dane County. Sime topped Kelly Lee of Jefferson County by one point. Other top ten individuals overall in order of rank were: Michelle Owens of Polk County, Jake Kruschke of St. Croix County, Jill Cowles of St. Croix County, Justin Langer of Columbia County, Katie Wendorf of Vernon County, Ellen Esch of Pierce County, and Kyle Natzke of Dodge County.
Dane County also earned first place in the Oral Reasons portion of the contest, followed by Dodge County in second place, St. Croix County in third place, Polk County in fourth place and Jefferson County in fifth place.
Kelly Sime of Dane County won the individual Oral Reasons competition, placing six points ahead of second-place Bethany Dado of Polk County. Rounding out the top five individuals in oral reasons were third-place Laura Elliott of Dane County, fourth-place Jake Kruschke of St. Croix County, and fifth-place Ty Hildebrandt of Dodge County.
Kelly Lee, Justin Langer, Danielle Brown, and Michelle Owens make up the team that will represent Wisconsin at the North American Youth Dairy Judging Contest in Louisville, Ky. on Nov. 7. The Wisconsin team that competes at Louisville is made up of the top four individuals who are not a part of the top two teams.
"Dane, St. Croix and Dodge impressed me earlier this summer at the Area Animal Science Days," said Ted Halbach, UW-Madison extension dairy youth specialist. "I have no doubt the teams and individuals moving on to the national level will do an excellent job of representing Wisconsin's 4-H dairy judging program."
Eight teams and a total of 42 youth competed in the junior division of the State 4-H Dairy Cattle Judging.
The contest featured 10 classes of cattle representing the Holstein, Jersey, Ayrshire and Guernsey breeds. Youth in the junior division also answered a total of 20 type-related questions, or TAQs. This portion of the contest is designed to help youth recognize type traits that play a significant role in placing the class. For example, questions may ask youth to identify which cow has the highest rear-udder attachment in the class.
The team from Fond du Lac County took 1st and dominated the competition, scoring 84 points more than second place Polk County. Members of the Fond du Lac County team were Valerie Kramer, Darren Kamphuis, Derrek Kamphuis, and Matthew Kramer. Chris Pollack and Chad Ryan coached them.
Polk County placed second overall. Trent Dado, Ethan Dado, Cody Getschel, and Laura Jensen made up the Polk County squad. The team is coached by Gretchen Johnson, Walter Owens, Jered Haase, Karrie Melin Swenson and Kirsten Klugow.
Sheboygan County earned third in the overall competition. The team of Sean Perronne, Alex Huibregtse, Erica Perronne, and Jimmy Jens was coached by Stephanie Jens, Chris Booth and Jeff Bleck.
Dane County took first place in the TAQs. The team consisted of Elizabeth Sarbacker, Lindsey Hellenbrand, Lauren Hageman, and Sara Harn. Their coach was Chad Wethal
In the individual competition, both the first- and second-place individuals came from Fond du Lac County. Valerie Kramer took top honors with a score of 543 and finished six points ahead of teammate Darren Kamphuis. Trent Dado of Polk County finished in third place with a score of 536. Nicole Wright of Jefferson County placed fourth with 532 points edging fifth place Ranae Holthaus of LaCrosse County by 3 points. Janelle Remington of Dodge County placed sixth; Jordyn Kamps of Green County placed seventh; David Pintens of Barron County earned eighth; Jacob Pintens of Barron County earned ninth; and Derrek Kamphuis of Fond du Lac County clinched tenth.
Elizabeth Sarbacker of Dane County earned first place in the TAQ section with 80 points, while the next six individuals tied with a score of 75. The tie was broken by overall finish, making Darren Kamphuis of Fond du Lac County second overall in TAQs. Ranae Holthaus of LaCrosse placed third, Ethan Dado of Polk County was fourth, Lindsey Hellenbrand of Dane County placed fifth, followed by Brad Warmka of Dodge County in sixth, and Erica Perronne of Sheboygan placing seventh.
"Having a junior contest at the state level is an incentive for all 265 of the juniors who competed at the AASD contests and a reward for those who did well," explained contest coordinator Ted Halbach, UW- Madison extension dairy youth specialist. "Hopefully their participation in this contest inspires them to continue judging at the senior level."
Teams and individuals qualified to compete in both divisions of the 4- H State Contest by their showing at one of the four Area Animal Science Day competitions. The junior division represents youth ages 9 through 14 as of Jan. 1 and the senior division represents youth ages 15 to 19. County teams are made up of their top three scoring individuals at the qualifying Area Animal Science Day with the fourth team member selected by the county.
Numerous volunteers contributed to the success of the contest. Curtis Day, Brian Kelroy, Mark Heinze, and Corey Geiger served as official judges. Melanie Miller, 4-H Youth Development Specialist, scored the contest. Chuck Prissel, UW Extension Polk County 4-H Youth Development Agent, Ryan Sterry, UW-Extension Polk County Agriculture and Horticulture Agent, and volunteers Jered Haase and Karrie Melin- Swenson contributed time and effort. The Cattle Connection, the UW- Madison Department of Dairy Science, the Joe and Sharon Darcey Youth Program Enhancement Fund, the Polk County Dairy Promotion Council, the Polk County Dairy Fund Raising Committee, Bernicks Pepsi and Burnett Dairy Cooperative all co-sponsored the event. The Polk County junior and open class dairy exhibitors were gracious in their willingness to provide cattle for the contest.
"Polk County did a phenomenal job in hosting this contest for the fourth year in a row. Their county volunteers were so accommodating and covered every detail imaginable," said Halbach. "Their efforts allowed each youth to have a positive experience at the contest which is what this is all about."