COLLEGE STATION — The livestock judging team from Texas A&M University recently won the national collegiate title at the North American International livestock show in Louisville, Ky.
Team members are Ross Dalby, a senior majoring in agricultural economics; Kelli Griffith, senior, agricultural economics; Chandra Orr, senior, animal science; Ryan Person, senior, animal science; Brant Poe, senior, animal science; and Ryan Rash, senior, animal science. Coaches are Dr. Chris Skaggs, animal science professor, and Chris Boleman, assistant lecturer.
Texas A&M scored 1,646 points to best Oklahoma State University’s 1,628 points. In third place was Kansas State University with 1,620 points. Team members from Texas A&M also captured all five high-scoring individual slots, with Person scoring 942 points; Orr, 938 points; Rash, 931 points; Poe, 929 points; and Dalby, 926 points.
According to Skaggs, the livestock judging program at Texas A&M provides opportunities for students to enhance their skills in market animal and breeding animal evaluation as well as in the presentation of oral reasons.
“The decision-making and communication skills gained from the experience serve the students well after graduation,” Skaggs said.
The team competes in five national contests in the spring, including the Arizona National in Phoenix, the National Western in Denver, the Southwestern Exposition in Fort Worth, the Dixie National in Jackson, Miss., and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo in Houston. Fall competitions include the National Barrow Show in Austin, Minn., the Mid-South Fair in Memphis, Tenn., the Georgia National in Perry, Ga., the American Royal in Kansas City, Mo., and the North American International.
“Teamwork is an important component of the judging team experience,” Skaggs said. “The students travel thousands of miles in 15- passenger vans, judge innumerable classes of animals and give countless sets of oral reasons. Therefore, learning to work and travel with others is a valuable part of the experience. Lifetime friendships are fostered.”
The judging team also travels to outstanding livestock operations across Texas and the United States to see quality livestock and hear business management and breeding philosophies of the owners and managers, he said. Consequently, they gain an appreciation of animal agriculture enterprises in different parts of the country and insight into successful operations.
The 1999 team won six national contests, including the American National, Dixie National, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, Mid- South Fair and Georgia National. They also were the reserve champion team at the Southwestern Exposition and National Barrow Show.