Thursday, February 11, 2016

Pincher Creek 4-H clubs hold 2016 Multi-Species Judging Contest

Josh Davis

On Saturday February 6, 2016, Pincher Creek District's Foothills Beef 4-H Club hosted a Multi-Species Judging Contest.  The event included the participation of over 30 members from all the clubs in the district, including Rocky Mountain Swine, Chinook Multi, Timber Trails, and Foothills. 4-H members judged species in four different categories, hay, heifers, horses, and sheep, and were graded on their judgements by volunteer leaders. Seniors, Juniors, and Intermediate level members of 4H were awarded prizes for first, second, and third place judging the species.

Guest MD of Pincher Creek Deputy Reeve Terry Yagos
Levi Anderson took first prize for the Seniors, with Blaine McFarland taking second, and Colin Lincez in third. For the Juniors Laura Parisis took first prize, with Madeline Schoening winning second prize, and Sarah Yagos in third. For the Intermediate level, Erica Mackenzie won first prize, with Sara Kirby taking second, and Lewis Anderson third.

Curtis Sinnott (l) instructing judges at hay station
Curtis Sinnott, who helped organize the judging contest with Adam Schoening, manned the hay station. “We had a group of five 4-H kids that were on the organizing committee. I just helped steer that committee, making sure the kids had a job to do, and a responsibility to get stuff organized,” said Sinott. “The class I’m taking care of today is mixed hay. Hay is important in the livestock industry, because we have winter. In the winter there’s no grass growing, no stuff to eat, so we have to put up hay so that we can feed it to them in the winter.”

Shawn Wells educating judges about horses
As a judge of hay, Sinott stressed the importance of quality hay, since wet or mouldy hay has a lower nutrient content, noting that green hay contains more nutrients. 4-H member were also looking at the amount of leaf in the hay, which denotes protein content, and making sure that there’s not foreign material in the hay, such as weeds, or other crops. Sinott said that it’s important for the 4-H members to be able to back up the reasons that they placed a certain species above another.

Taylor Wells taking photos
“I’m really excited that we had such a good turnout today. All of these young adults are future ambassadors of our industry, or they’re current ambassadors of our industry. So when they’re out in public talking to other people in their class or in their community that aren’t involved in agriculture they’re able to accurately explain different parts of animals, and different parts of hay, and whatnot,” said Sinott.

Taylor Wells (Silver Reins)
Taylor Wells was the head member of the organization committee. She’s a key member of her district this year and has been involved in 4-H for nine years. Her main role in organizing the event was coordinating with judges, and deciding which livestock they would be getting everyone to judge, and she also helped organize prizes for the event. Her family provided the horses and the sheep for the event, and her father Shawn Wells was educating members about horses, and judging their decisions.

Joanne Wells and Anna Welsch
“With horses there’s a lot of different thing that you can look for,” explained Taylor. “What they’re looking for today is a balanced horse. You want to look for straight front legs, and a rather level back, and a round buttocks. Your neck and your back length should be about equal. There’s also different things, like when you see the horse move is there a limp to it? Do their feet paddle in?” Wells explained that what you look for in a horse depends greatly on their intended purpose. “But any horse you’re looking for, whether a race horse, or a cutting horse, whatever, should be balanced, so that they can perform as well as they can.”

BBQ smoke
Wells also spoke on the sheep she provided, which were young breeding ewes. Wells explained that they will be bred immediately, and will lamb at the beginning of May. “You want them to have a little depth. You don’t want them to be all legs. It also depends of their breeds as well. A good ewe is wider in the back end, and they have a good length on their back. Their backs are straight.” Wells also explained that sometimes ewes will have another teat that’s not actually there for milk, making it something to look for.

“If you have any younger kids that you’d like to put in 4-H it’s an amazing organization. There are so many opportunities for scholarships, and learning, and building leadership skills. There’s Multi-Club too, so if you don’t live on a farm you can still do 4-H.”

Heifers judge Carol High
“It’s a very strong class,” said Carol High, who judged the heifers that day. “The kids obviously know what they’re doing, and they’re doing a really good job at sorting them out. These are replacement heifers, so we’re looking for a heifer that’s got lots of length and depth of body, can travel good on their feet and legs, and is still feminine enough to look like a heifer. It’s been awesome, there’s been a great turnout for number of kids. For them to be judging interspecies is really great for them, to learn about all the species that are in their district.

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