Meeker FFA judges earn silver status at National FFA CDE

From left are Clint Shults (the group’s FFA livestock judging coach) and the Meeker livestock judging team of Sam Baylie, Ty Dunham, Maclaine Shults, Madi Shults and the representative of the national livestock judging event sponsor, Culvers.

From left are Clint Shults (the group’s FFA livestock judging coach) and the Meeker livestock judging team of Sam Baylie, Ty Dunham, Maclaine Shults, Madi Shults and the representative of the national livestock judging event sponsor, Culvers.
From left are Clint Shults (the group’s FFA livestock judging coach) and the Meeker livestock judging team of Sam Baylie, Ty Dunham, Maclaine Shults, Madi Shults and the representative of the national livestock judging event sponsor, Culvers.
MEEKER I During the week of Oct. 28, Sam Baylie, Ty Dunham, Madi Shults and Maclaine Shults competed at the 2013 National FFA Convention Career Development Event in Livestock Evaluation in Kentucky against 45 state champion FFA teams including Puerto Rico.
The Meeker FFA Livestock Evaluation Team was the 2013 Reserve Champion Colorado FFA Livestock Evaluation Team and, under normal circumstances, they would have prepared to compete at the National Western FFA Judging Contest in January. However, the state champion team from the Durango FFA Chapter declined to compete at the National FFA CDE due to a scheduling conflict with the American Royal 4-H Judging Contest in Kansas City.
The Meeker FFA team was offered the chance to compete at the National FFA CDE. The team members, parents and advisor Trina Smith had to make a quick decision on short notice, and the team accepted the offer, knowing they faced tremendous preparation and funding challenges.
The team had to raise approximately $4,000 in order to make the trip. In less than 60 days, they got it done. Once again, the team’s fans helped them get to Kentucky by donating to the multiple prize drawing, supporting the barbecue brisket booth at the Mountain Valley Bank Fall Festival and the Methodist Women’s Conference catering job that occurred in September. They were also awarded a $400 cash prize from the Colorado FFA Foundation.
courtesy photo Mason Scritchfield of Meeker (left) and the representative of the national outdoor recreation sponsor, Yamaha C.
courtesy photo
Mason Scritchfield of Meeker (left) and the representative of the national outdoor recreation sponsor, Yamaha C.
Preparation time was sacrificed due to fund-raising efforts, but the opportunity to compete at this level is a once-in-a-lifetime chance and will remain a bold print addition to each team member’s resume.
This is a rigorous two-day event and the format is anything but a normal judging contest in the traditional sense.
On the first day, the team had to evaluate and place a class of registered Angus bulls with performance data and answer 10 questions regarding the class.
Next, they had to evaluate three female selection classes that consist of eight replacement females with performance records. These are known as keep/cull classes. The selection classes consisted of Simmental heifers, Hampshire cross ewes and Hampshire cross gilts. The contestants had to decide which four females they would keep and which four should be culled from each class, and their scores are derived from how their choices compare to the official committee’s selections.
After the keep/cull classes were completed the contestants moved indoors for the team activity.
Baylie and Maclaine Shults paired up to solve the marketing strategy scenario, which required them to purchase a set of cattle through a live video auction and figure out total costs of getting their cattle to the feedlot.
Madi Shults and Dunham were given a genetic scenario in which they had to evaluate a group of bulls and a non-related group of heifers on line, study performance data and match the correct prospective sires with the heifers based on a set of goals laid out by the owner of the operation in the scenario provided by the contest officials.
Finally, each member was given a 25-question multiple-choice exam that required knowledge in the swine, sheep, cattle and poultry industries.
The second day saw normal judging, where team members evaluated eight classes of livestock starting at 8 a.m. After noon, each member gave four sets of oral reasons.
The team was recognized by the National FFA as a silver level team.
Individually, Madi Shults was recognized as a gold-level individual. Maclaine Shults and Baylie were recognized as silver-level individuals.Dunham was recognized as a bronze-level individual.
After the awards breakfast on Friday, the team met Dr. Chris Skaggs, the associate dean of student development for the College of Agriculture at Texas A&M as well as Colorado native and former FFA alumnus David Korbelik, director of U.S. Cattle Marketing for Boehringer Igelheim, Inc., one of the major sponsors of the event. He was raised near Burlington, Colo. Both gentlemen made a point of introducing themselves to the team.
This contest was the most challenging event this team has competed in or will enter in the future. There is no other judging contest with this format at the high school or college level.
This team is only losing one member as Maclaine Shults moves to the collegiate level. She has built an impressive FFA resume since 2009. She earned her way to three national CDEs during her career.
After the contest, the chapter took in the trade show and several general recognition sessions, where one session included fellow member Mason Scritchfield, who placed in the top four in the nation with his outdoor Supervised Agriculture Experience (SAE) project he had developed and managed throughout his FFA career.
The team also enjoyed Rick Pitino, a motivational speaker and coach of the NCAA Men’s College Basketball Champions from Louisville, and they witnessed the induction ceremony for the 2014 National FFA Officer Team.
Outside of the convention, the team toured Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby, and the Louisville Slugger baseball bat factory. On Friday evening, the team boarded a chilly river boat cruise on the Belle of Louisville steam-powered paddle boat that has run on the Ohio River since 1911. The team called the famous Galt House Hotel in downtown Louisville home for the week.
This is a notable historic hotel that serves as the lodging headquarters during Derby Week.