If anyone believes in sticking with their New Year’s resolutions, it’s the Eagle Point FFA Livestock judging team. Last year the team had an accomplished, yet somewhat disappointing, third place finish at the Arizona national Livestock Judging Contest. Winning the contest was put at the to of their goal list for 2008. A year of hard work and preparation finally paid off as the team brought home the first place trophy.
The team traveled to four different states to reach their destination.
After leaving E.P.H.S, the trip to Arizona started with a stop in
Susanville, CA where the team took another opportunity to practice by
looking at several different classes of livestock in snow and cold
winds. They also had the opportunity to receive tips from Lassen
Community College’s animal science professor, Brian Wolf. From there
they flew out of Reno, NV to Phoenix, AS where the contest was held at
the Arizona State Fair Grounds. The team judged and attempted to place
eight classes of swine, sheep and cattle. Then, they were required to
orally defend their placings with reasons to officials. Contestants
were scored individually and on a team basis.
consisted of Amanda Vargas, Kristen Wyatt, Kayla Roberts, Brendon
Kelley and Katie Deupree. They were accompanied by their advisor,
Curtis North. Amanda Vargas was the 2nd high individual in the contest
with a score of 430, losing out to the top spot by only two points.
Kristin Wyatt scored an almost perfect 49 out of 50 points on her beef
oral reasons clinching a Top-10 finish with a total score of 416. Kayla
Roberts was disappointed in her swine oral reasons score, but was able
to secure a 15th place overall finish by placing the classes well. Her
total score was 414. Brendon Kelley was able to stay in the top 30
after dropping 16 points on a market hog class by scoring two perfect
50s and four near-perfect scores on other classes. Katie Deupree, a
freshmen, proved that Eagle Point will be competitive at the national
level for years to come. She placed two perfect scores on market lambs
and was high individual for sheep. Katie placed 29th overall. Mr. North
commented, "Katie shows a lot of promise. We’re excited to see what she
will produce over the next four years."
After the team was
announced as the winners, Kristin Wyatt summed up the experience by
saying, "This is such a good feeling!" FFA Advisor Keith Frost,
commented on the win stating, "This is a dedicated team. It has taken a
lot of hard work and commitment to make it to this level. I can’t think
of a more deserving group of kids."
The contest was held in
conjunction with the 61st Annual Arizona National Livestock Show so
team members had a chance to view a wide range of livestock from across
the country. This also provided the team with ample practice
opportunities. They spent two days working out at the fairgrounds prior
to the contest. This year’s contest, held on New Year’s Eve, hosted 35
teams and 140 competitors from all over the country. Additionally, over
30 colleges were also present to compete. Having the college teams and
coaches present gave our students the opportunity to get a look at what
it takes to make it to the next level. College coaches also get to see
who’s up and coming a and get a chance to recruit. Team members had the
chance to see what’s out there and see what different colleges have to
offer and what scholarship opportunities exist.
Point FFA would like to extend its sincere appreciation to our
community for helping to make this trip possible. Many community
members have willingly offered their time and expertise to help these
kids by supplying animals and opportunities for workouts throughout the
year. They’ve also helped by coaching, judging and teaching. Funds
raised through our auction, plant sale and other fund raising
activities helped this team travel with minimal cost to the students.
Mr. North says, "The kids on this team deserve a lot of credit for
their hard work and dedication, but credit is also due to our community
Without their help, our continued success wouldn’t be possible. It
truly is a group effort."