CSU, Chico News

Livestock Judging Team Prepares for National Championship Event

Date: 11-01-2007

Joe Wills
Public Affairs

California State University, Chico’s livestock judging team from the College of Agriculture is preparing for the national championship event Nov. 12 after a season of 10 straight top-10 finishes.

The five CSU, Chico student team members along with adviser Clay Carlson will be heading to Louisville for the North American International Livestock Expo Nov. 11-12. At that event, the top finisher will be crowned national champion.

Livestock judging involves ranking groups of four animals (cows, sheep or pigs) in 12 different classes of livestock based on pre-determined criteria. Team members are then asked by judges to explain their rankings. Decision-making, retention of information, organization and public speaking are essential skills for successful participants.

Carlson, an instructor in the College of Agriculture and alumnus who was a 1997 livestock judging team member, said 25 universities nationwide are competitive in livestock judging, with Texas A&M, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Iowa State and Texas Tech often leading the pack.

Carlson said CSU, Chico typically fields the outstanding team from California, competing for that honor with UC Davis and Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.

The 2007 team has been consistently good all season, but would have to be considered a long shot for national champion, Carlson said. Over the course of 10 events from last spring to this fall, CSU, Chico’s team has one first-place and one second-place finish and has never finished lower than ninth, he said.

Carlson said CSU, Chico students who join the livestock judging team have to make a three-semester commitment. During the fall of an even-numbered year, they go to judging events on weekends, functioning as a novice team that is not competing. The following spring and fall of an odd-numbered year, they travel to competitions around the country.

“It is a big commitment of time, and yet grade-point averages of team members tend to go up, as they focus on getting work done, and communicate better with instructors,” Carlson said.

This year’s team members are senior Travis Heffner from Central Point, Ore., an animal science major; senior Caley Heiman from Pleasanton, an animal science major; junior Stephanie Horton from Escalon, an animal science major; senior Katie O’Ferrall from Covelo, an agriculture education major; and senior Jordan Parsons from Ducor, an agriculture business major.