First time is a charm for the West Virginia University Livestock Judging Team.
In its inaugural bid in the Dixie National Intercollegiate Beef Judging Contest in Jackson, Miss., the team brought home six awards.
The team placed fourth in each of the following categories: American Division, Brahman Division, Continental Division, Market Division, Oral Reason and High Team Overall.
Coached by Scott Bowdridge, assistant professor of animal science in the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, and Taylor Harrison, a graduate student pursuing a degree in beef nutrition, the team practiced for weeks – including weekend sessions – leading up to the competition.
“Livestock judging is hard work, but the payoff is so worth it,” Harrison said. “The look I saw on their faces when West Virginia University was called at the awards banquet makes all the long stressful days worthwhile.”
Harrison knows first-hand how stressful the training can be.
A native of Coldwater, Mich., Harrison earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Michigan State University where she was a member of the 2012 Livestock Judging Team.
“Livestock judging was one of the best decisions I made as an undergraduate student and I want my students to feel that same pride and success that I felt,” she said.
Members of the Livestock Judging Team include Robert Currey, an agricultural and extension education major from Salem, W.Va.; Shawna Rhodes, an animal and nutritional sciences major from Statts Mills, W.Va.; Annaliese Henderson, an agricultural and extension education major from Littleton, W.Va.; Amanda Kline, an agricultural and extension education major from Sabillasville, Md.; Holli Schell, an animal and nutritional sciences major from New Martinsville, W.Va.; Sami Fabian, an animal and nutritional sciences major from Acme, Pa.; Bradley Rodeheaver, an agribusiness management and rural development major from Friendsville, Md.
While Harrison was pleased with the team’s performance at Dixie National, she also knows there is still work to be done before the team competes for the first time in the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo in March.
“The Houston show is a very big contest. There will be teams from all over the country and the students will not only judge cattle but hogs, sheep and goats as well,” she said.
CONTACT: Lindsay Willey, Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design
Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.