Big Timber Competes at 4-H National Championship Livestock Judging Contest in Louisville

by Brett McRae

The livestock judging team from Big Timber, Montana competed in the National 4-H Livestock Judging Contest in Louisville, Kentucky. The contest is held during the North American International Livestock Exposition which is the largest purebred livestock show in the world.

The team was composed of high school seniors Morgan Anderson, David Paul Hathaway, and Rylee Swartz, in addition to juniors Mollie Ruth and RaeAnna King.

The team traveled to Louisville on November 11th and practiced in Northern Indiana on Saturday at Purple Power Boar Stud and Purdue University. On Sunday they practiced around Louisville and then watched the horses run at Churchill Downs. Monday found the team practicing on sheep in Owenton, Kentucky and watching the Angus Show at the NAILE.

The contest was held on Tuesday, November 15th.  The students had to place classes of performance Rambouillet ewes, performance Dorper ewes, two classes of market lambs, Duroc market hogs, crossbred market hogs, performance crossbred gilts, performance Sim-Solution heifers, performance Chi Influenced heifers, market steers and performance Simmental heifers. They also had to answer questions on three of the classes and give four sets of oral reasons. The team started the morning judging at 7:30 am and finished with their last set of reasons at 5:00 pm.

The awards breakfast was held on Wednesday, November 16th. The team placed 11th in cattle, third in performance cattle, eighth in sheep, fifth in swine, nineteenth in reasons and sixth overall. Individually, Mollie Ruth finished twelfth in performance cattle, seventeenth in sheep, sixth in swine and thirteenth overall which qualified her as a member of the All-American Livestock Judging Team. RaeAnna marked her way to nineteenth in cattle, thirteenth in performance cattle, and twentieth overall which also qualified her as a member of the All-American Livestock Judging Team. Morgan finished thirtieth in performance cattle and David Paul placed thirty third in swine and thirty fourth overall. The top teams in the contest were All-Star teams from Indiana and Texas.

This team from Montana was one of the few teams from a single county representing their state at the National Championships. The team returned home late on November 16th. Mollie and RaeAnna join Jess Moody as the only All-Americans from Montana in the past 30 years.


Sweetgrass County 4-H, Marc King

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