Columbia County Seniors Win Top Honors at the State 4-H Dairy Cattle Judging Contest

The Columbia County Senior Dairy Judging Team won first place at the State 4-H Senior Dairy Judging Contest, held in conjunction with the State Ayrshire and Milking Shorthorn Shows in Fond du Lac, Wis. on August 1, 2022. Columbia’s winning performance qualifies them to represent Wisconsin at the National 4-H Dairy Cattle Judging Contest during World Dairy Expo in October.

Fifty senior contestants placed ten classes and presented four sets of Oral Reasons. The winning senior team from Columbia County included Paige Sweatt, Ava Hebgen, Brady Dorshorst, and Rebecca Murphy, and was coached by Nikki Hebgen and Craig Carncross. Sweatt was fourth high individual overall in the contest, and teammate Hebgen was 12th overall. Columbia finished 12 points in front of their nearest competitor.

Second in the senior contest was Wood County, with a 4-point advantage over third place Shawano County. Wood’s runner-up finish earned them a trip to the All-American Youth Dairy Judging Contest next month in Harrisburg, Pa. Team members Emma Dorshorst, Emma Bangart, Brooklyn Schwoerer, and Sara Dorshorst were coached by Tim Heeg and Matt Dorshorst. Emma Dorshorst was high individual on the day, helped by a first place finish in oral reasons with 190 out of a possible 200 points and a 47.5 average score.

Following Emma Dorshorst in the top ten of the senior division were Jenna Gries of Manitowoc County, Sara Kronberg of Rock County, Paige Sweatt of Columbia County, Dylan Raymond of St. Croix County, Kaylee Ferfecki of Shawano County, Hailey Zernicke of Shawano County, Clarissa Ulness of Manitowoc County, Julia Searls of Iowa County, and Sophia Kamm of St. Croix County.

Jenna Gries, Sara Kronberg, Dylan Raymond and Kaylee Ferfecki will represent Wisconsin at the North American International Livestock Exposition Youth Dairy Judging Contest in Louisville, Ky. in November.

Twelve teams and a total of 52 youth competed in the junior division of the contest. Juniors also placed ten classes, in addition to answering Type Analysis Questions (TAQ’s) on four of the classes. TAQ questions are designed to help youth recognize type traits that play a significant role in functional conformation and placing the class.

The team from Sheboygan County took first, 23 points ahead of second place Fond du Lac County. Members of the Sheboygan team included Alison Gartman, Audrey Gartman, Natalie Mauk and Carsten Huenink. They were coached by Crystal Sinn and Kelly Jens. Fond du Lac County placed second and included team members Cameron Ryan, Dylan Ryan, Isaac Loehr, and Leah Mess. Joe Loehr, Chad Ryan and Matthew Kramer coached the team. In the TAQ portion of the contest, Laney Neuser of Manitowoc County led the way with 75 of 100 possible points. It was Sheboygan County that topped the team TAQ contest, with teammates Alison Gartman, Audrey Gartman, Natalie Mauk and Carsten Huenink.

The top ten juniors overall in the contest were Laney Neuser of Manitowoc County, Braeden Bechel of Pierce County, Gracin Speich of Rock County, Cameron Ryan of Fond du Lac County, Alison Gartman of Sheboygan County, Audrey Gartman of Sheboygan County, Dylan Ryan of Fond du Lac County, Shyanne Hammann of Barron County, Olivia Dittman of St. Croix County and Eleah Watson of Wood County.

Teams and individuals qualified to compete at the state contest based on their performance at one of the two regional 4-H Area Animal Science Days contests held in June. The junior division represents youth in third through eighth grade, while the senior division represents youth in high school. County teams were made up of their top three scoring individuals from their qualifying contest with the fourth member selected by the county.

The day was made possible through the generous contributions of several groups and volunteers. The contest is especially appreciative of the quality cow and heifer classes provided by the Ayrshire and Milking Shorthorn breeders at the show and Fond du Lac area Holstein and Jersey breeders. The UW-Madison Foundation’s Joe and Sharon Darcey Youth Enhancement Fund and the Wisconsin 4-H Foundation’s Dairy Endowment Fund sponsored the event.

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