Lucas Moser kept Ingham County's record intact by being named the top senior dairy judge at this year's 4-H Dairy Days. Last year's senior division winner was Kailey Sweers, also from Ingham County. Moser beat out Washtenaw County 4-H member Katelyn Horning by one point to win this year's competition.
The overall winner in the junior division of the dairy cattle judging contest was Mason Horning from Washtenaw County. Nikki Nugent, Kent County, was first place overall in the novice division.
4-H Dairy Days is the youth-centered portion of Michigan Dairy Expo, the largest annual dairy event in the state. It offers young people interested in the dairy industry opportunities to compete for premiums, ribbons and scholarships in various activities. Winners may also be selected to go on to represent Michigan in national competitions. This year's event was held July 18-23 in conjunction with the 15th annual Michigan Dairy Expo at the Michigan State University (MSU) Pavilion for Agriculture and Livestock Education at MSU.
In the dairy cattle judging contest, individuals in the senior division compete against one another with the shared goal of placing among the top 25, which earns them a chance to vie for one of 12 positions on the state's 4-H traveling dairy judging teams. These teams will compete at three national contests in the fall – the All-American in Harrisburg, Pa., World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wis., and the North American International Livestock Exhibition in Louisville, Ky. The 4-H Dairy Days dairy judging contest is just the first step in what will be a series of intensive workouts and independent practices to earn a spot on one of the teams. The team that competes at World Dairy Expo also vies for a chance to earn an invitation to travel to Europe if they finish among the top three highest placing teams. This year approximately 160 youth participated in the dairy judging contest.
The contest includes both an evaluation and an oral reasons presentation component. In the evaluation part, scores are tallied according to how closely the contestant's placing matches the judges' official placing. In the oral reasons presentation, comparable to making a defense case in court, judges assign individual scores to each contestant based on how well the young person can justify his reasons for placing the cows in the order he did in a particular class. Contestants can earn a total of 50 points in both the evaluation and oral reasons parts of the contest.
New to this year's contest was the addition of the novice division (first year members ages 9 to 11). They judged three classes of animals and completed a quiz. The junior division (ages 9 to 14) judged eight classes and gave one set of reasons, and the senior division (ages 15 to 19) judged eight classes and gave three sets of reasons. Classes are made up of four animals each.
The top 10 individuals in the novice division were: Nikki Nugent, Kristen Burkhardt and Connor Nugent, (Kent Co.); Keith Schafer (Clinton Co.); Jake Nugent (Kent Co.); Caitie Theisen (Isabella Co.); Kurtis Stitt (Newaygo Co.); Amanda Hicks (Clinton Co.); Ian Black (Clinton Co.); and Jessie Nash (Clinton Co.).
In the team category in the novice division, Kent County placed first with team members Burkhardt, Shannon Good and Nikki Nugent. Kent County also placed second with the team of Elise Marshall and Connor and Jake Nugent. Clinton County placed third with its team of Dakota Dershem, Carla Hicks, Josie Nash and Keith Schafer. Eight teams competed in the novice division.
In the junior division, the top 10 individuals were: Horning (Washtenaw Co.); Alexis Butcher (Shiawassee Co.); Suzanna Hull and Alexis Bowman (Hillsdale Co.); Joshua Markel (Clinton Co.); Morgan Luoma (Calhoun Co.); Darrell Dochstader (Hillsdale Co.); Zeke Breuninger (Washtenaw Co.); Hannah Poling (Hillsdale Co.); and CJ Shearer (Ottawa Co.).
The first place team in the junior contest was from Hillsdale County. Team members were Bowman, Dochstader, Hull and Poling. The second place team was from Washtenaw County. Team members were Breuninger, Kayla Holsten, Horning and Rachel Weidmayer. The multi-county team of Jack and Morgan Luoma (Calhoun Co.) and Eric Moser and Laura Musolf (Ingham Co.) placed third. Nineteen teams competed in the junior division Ashley Cross (Branch Co.) was the high individual in oral reasons in the junior division. Rounding out the top five contestants in oral reasons were: Eric Moser (Ingham Co.), Allison Schafer (Clinton Co.), CJ Shearer (Ottawa Co.) and Carmen Hicks (Clinton Co.).
The high team in oral reasons in the junior division was the Washtenaw County team made up of team members Mason Horning, Zeke Breuninger, Kayla Holsten and Rachel Weidmayer. The second place team was the multi-county team from Ottawa and Saginaw counties. The team members were Chelsea Barnes, CJ and Caleb Shearer from Ottawa County and Lance Frahm from Saginaw County.
Moser (Ingham Co.) was the high individual overall in the senior division. Katelyn Horning (Washtenaw Co.) finished in second place, Cameron Zwemmer (Huron Co.) was third, CJ Berens (Allegan Co.) was fourth, and Megan Bush (Genesee Co.) placed fifth.
Rounding out the top 25 high individuals overall in the senior division were: Megan Filhart (Isabella Co.), Heather Vanlieu (Branch Co.), Natalie Horning (Washtenaw Co.), Timothy and Bryce Frahm (Saginaw Co.), Kailey Sweers (Ingham Co.), Amber Theisen (Isabella Co.), Dustin Tripp (Ottawa Co.), Hayleigh Geurink (Ottawa Co.), Cole Wixom (Allegan Co.), Jay Luoma (Calhoun Co.), Ryan Hall (Eaton Co.), Casei Hart (Jackson Co.), Annabeth Musolf (Ingham Co.), Michaela Stitt (Newaygo Co.), Garrett Slavik (Gratiot Co.), Anibal Chloe (Shiawassee Co.), Kelly Raterink (Ottawa Co.), Kacie Potts (Ottawa Co.), and Samantha Mamarow (Washtenaw Co.).
In the team rankings for the senior division, the team representing Calhoun and Ingham counties placed first with members Jay Luoma, Lucas Moser, Annabeth Musolf and Kailey Sweers. In second place was the team of Megan Bush (Genesee Co.), Megan Filhart and Amber Theisen (Isabella Co.), and Carmen Zwemmer (Huron Co.). Third place was awarded to the Ottawa County team of Geurink, Potts, Raterink and Tripp. Twelve teams competed in the senior division.
In the senior division of oral reasons, Katelyn Horning (Washtenaw Co.) was high individual. Rounding out the top five were: Hayleigh Geurink (Ottawa Co.), Kailey Sweers (Ingham Co.), Carmen Zwemmer (Huron Co.), and Natalie Horning (Washtenaw Co.), respectively.
This year's event attracted more than 400 dairy animals and more than 200 exhibitors. To download photos from any of the week's activities, visit www.michigandairyexpo.com.
For more information about the Michigan 4-H dairy youth program or Michigan Dairy Expo, contact the Michigan 4-H dairy office at 517-353-7855.
The 2012 Michigan Dairy Expo is July 16-20 at MSU.