RBC 4-H judging team goes to Nashville

Members of the Rio Blanco 4-H Livestock Judging Team represented Rio Blanco County recently in Nashville at the NCBA convention. (Left to right) Sam Baylie, Landon Mecham, Madison Shults, Kaylee Mecham, Layne Mecham and Maclaine Shults.
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Members of the Rio Blanco 4-H Livestock Judging Team represented Rio Blanco County recently in Nashville at the NCBA convention. (Left to right) Sam Baylie, Landon Mecham, Madison Shults, Kaylee Mecham, Layne Mecham and Maclaine Shults.
RBC I Thanks to generous support from EnCana, a delegation of 4-H judging kids represented Rio Blanco County recently in Nashville, Tenn., at the NCBA convention.
Maclaine and Madison Shults and Sam Baylie from Meeker, and Layne, Landon and Kaylee Mecham from Rangely, along with Bill Ekstrom, Bonnie Long and Shane and Kathy Mecham made the long trip starting Jan. 30 with a stop at Ft. Hays, Kans., to view the University of Kansas animal units. Then on to Memphis where they all took in Graceland and got to see Lisa Marie Presley celebrating her Feb. 1 birthday.
We finished our trip into Nashville Feb. 2. The kids promptly checked into the motel and then went to view Music Row and eat supper at Hard Rock Café. Later that night, they practiced their speeches and quiz bowl questions.
On the morning of Feb. 3, they were up early and off to Opryland Motel for competitions. Landon Mecham, Maclaine Shults and Kaylee Mecham all gave excellent speeches. Each of those speeches were very controversial and even with all the passion and research, they fell short of top six.
At noon, they battled it out in quiz bowl against two other teams. They did great answering questions but needed more speed on pressing the buzzer. Hopefully before next year’s competition in Tampa, Fla., we can make a board and practice, as the other teams were just quicker.
That night the kids got to see the sights around Nashville again. Some of the kids played Laser Quest, while another bunch took line dancing lessons at the Wildhorse.
Feb. 4 dawned early. Lucky for us, southern time is a little different. We got signed in and kids got paperwork in order before the contest.
After 10 classes of cattle and questions. We jumped in the van and made a tourist stop at the Ryman (Grand Olde Opry). Two tickets were handed out to cut records in the studio. While the other kids did backstage tours. Layne Mecham wouldn’t let us listen to his creation, but we could hear Maclaine Shults though the glass and she sounded wonderful.
After the team got their photos on stage they bee-lined for Opryland to hear the results of the contest, but we had missed the 4-H division. Not too worry, Madison Shults got to get her photo for winning High Individual Overall Junior, showing off her plaque and new buckle. While Landon Mecham also got his picture with officials beaming over his 10th place plaque in the Senior Division. This contest was extremely well attended and much larger than Denver. The senior 4-H division had 139 contestants.
Afterward, we all piled in the van and headed out of town, stopping briefly to eat supper at Layne Mecham’s favorite spot. We had a great trip, beat the weather, visited with friends in Elk City, Okla., and looked through historical buildings in Ft. Smith, Ark.
The kids would like to thank EnCana for assistance; Shane and Kathy Mecham and Bill Ekstrom for chaperoning and Jon and Fran Hill for watching each of the contests and being there to support us.
We learned a lot on this trip and hope the information gained on speeches and quiz bowl will make us more competitive in Tampa, Fla. next February 2013. Now, we are gearing up for spring judging with a large new crop of juniors on both ends of the county. And in the summer of 2012, we will once again take a mixed delegation of Meeker/Rangely kids to Calgary Stampede to judge at Youth International Agribition.