Members of the Oregon Livestock Judging team, Brandon Batty, Eli Bowers, Molly Del Curto and Josey Koehn, pose for a picture during the National 4-H Judging Contest in Louisville, Ky.
Four members of the Oregon Livestock Judging team — Brandon Batty, Eli Bowers, Molly Del Curto and Josey Koehn — finished 16th in the nation at the National 4-H Judging Contest Nov. 19 in Louisville, Ky.
Individually, Bowers placed 27th and Batty came in 50th. All four members of the judging team are part of the Union County 4-H Livestock Judging Team.
“What I’ve learned from the invaluable experience, is that the pursuit of livestock judging is a highly competitive field that will carry over to many aspects of your adult life whether you decide to closely involve yourself with agriculture or not,” Koehn said. “The speaking skills, the decision making and confidence we gain are some of the most useful things to hold in our arsenal in the professional world, and I am glad to have the opportunity to develop them in such a unique way.”
The foursome competed with other judges throughout Union County in the Spring Livestock Judging Contest, Eastern Oregon Livestock Show contest and the Union County Fair contest. In these competitions, judges had to place high enough to be in the top four average scorers of the year. The four selected came together to create the Union County 4-H Livestock Judging Team.
After being inducted to the team, the group set its sights on the state judging contest, held at the Linn County Fairgrounds in July, where the Union County team won the state contest, changing the team name to the Oregon Judging Team.
Along with its coach, Tammi Del Curto, the Cove Livestock Club 4-H leader, the group before the national contest were spent viewing top-notch animals such as Walker Showpigs, Forsee Club Lambs and livestock of the University of Kentucky Experiment station. Much of the time was spent working on the group’s “reasons,” a segment of a livestock judging contest where evaluators give a small structured speech explaining, confidently, why the four animals in the class were placed.