College of Agriculture

Livestock Judging Team Makes History at North American International Livestock Exposition

Announced on: Thursday, Dec. 05, 2019

At the end of a long competition season, the Chico State Livestock Judging Team made history by placing third high team at the North American International Livestock Exposition Judging Competition (NAILE) in Louisville, Kentucky. To date, this win marks the highest placing at the national championship by the University. In addition, senior animal science major Mikayla Duchi placed seventh high individual amongst hundreds of competitors from across the nation.

The competition encompasses 12 classes of livestock and 8 sets of oral reasons. In addition to their overall placing, the team brought home sub-contest awards as well, including 2nd high team in cattle, 2nd high team in performance cattle, 2nd high team in overall performance and 4th high team in sheep and goats. Nathan Johnson placed 7th high individual in cattle, and Duchi placed 7th high overall, 6th high in reasons and 4th high in sheep and goats. Duchi also won a $500 scholarship from Rodeo Austin as one of the top three women in the contest.

The travelling team was comprised of Kylie Burriss, Mikayla Duchi, Nathan Johnson, Madison Morgan, Noa Taipin and Jared Wolf, with coach Clay Carlson. Kelley Duggan, Samantha Bright and Megan Rivera also competed throughout the season and contributed points to the team’s successful run, which included 2nd at the Arizona National Livestock Show, 5th at the Houston Livestock Show, 1st at the Western Fall Classic in Medford, Oregon, and 8th at both the National Barrow Show in Austin, Minnesota, and the American Royal in Kansas City, Missouri. In addition to weekly practices, the team bonded over team dinners, movie nights and supported one another every step of the way. 

“The season was full of many highs but not without a couple lows, and every time we didn't do as well as we hoped, it only caused us to work harder,” Morgan said. “The team was able to collaborate very well. The nine of us weren't just teammates throughout this past year, we became family.”

Morgan said competing so strongly at the national level against large agricultural universities from the production-rich Midwest put Chico State on the map. Johnson agreed.

“I think my favorite part of judging at Chico State was being able to represent the West Coast. It’s all too common for us out here to be thought of as the ‘underdogs,’ but to go in and beat some of those big schools from the Midwest certainly leaves a feeling of pride,” he said.

“(Coach) Carlson always tells us ‘to whom much is given, much is expected in return.’ We were very fortunate to have the experience of judging for Chico State, and we just wanted to make everyone proud,” Morgan added.