May 18, 2018
Goodwell, Okla. — The Oklahoma Panhandle State University Livestock Judging Team have been on the move this season, and with three shows under their belt already they are hungry for more.
The team consists of three students: Whitney Nelson, a junior from Warner, Okla.; Daniela Abatti, a junior from El Centro, Calif; and Tel DeWitt, a sophomore from Gate, Okla. The premise is simple, various livestock animals are brought in and are then judged and given a score. Based on the scores given to the animals, the teams are then awarded points. In some instances, the team is granted a workout before the competition. This allows them to visit places such as feed yards or other universities and get an idea of what kind of animals they will see in the show.
The first show the team attended was the National Western Livestock Show in Denver, Colo. The team was granted a workout beforehand and visited a Colorado feed yard and Colorado State University to look at livestock. The contest was split into two individual activities over two days. The first day was the regular livestock judging contest with 12 different judging classes and oral reasons over 8 of the 12 classes. The classes included: Angus Bulls with Performance Data, Hereford Heifers, Market Heifers, Lim-Flex Bulls with Performance Data, Simmental Heifers, Market Lambs, Boer Goat Does, Market Goats, Droper Ewes, Crossbred Gilts, Hampshire Gilts with Scenario, and Market Hogs. Of the 27 different universities in attendance, the team managed to place in the top 15. On the second day they faced the Carload Contest, in which teams judged six classes made up of four head of cattle that had to be judged as a group. The Panhandle State team placed in a tie at 18th out of the 27 teams. Panhandle State was tied with University of Illinois, WTAMU, University of Tennessee, and Oklahoma State University.
The second and third shows took place in Fort Worth and Houston respectively. The Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo included two classes of Quarter Horses to judge. Tel DeWitt dropped two points on the Quarter Horses and ended up tying for third place. Meanwhile, Daniela Abatti dropped eight points on the Sheep Classes. At the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, Whitney Nelson had the highest oral reason score by 20 points for the team. They were granted a workout before the show and visited Texas A&M University and the V8 Brahman Ranch. The type of animals the team saw in the Houston contest include a class of bred Brahman heifers and a class of bred Hereford heifers.
While it sounds easy enough, it is anything but. Livestock judging requires a keen and trained eye to know what to look for in an animal. The Panhandle State team has proven themselves time and again; doing very well for themselves and it will be exciting to see what comes next for the team.
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