RBC I Madi Shults, Macy Collins, Samantha Lapp and Ty Dunham ended 2015 just as they started back in March—in first place.
They had five weeks to prepare for this year’s state show and they used their time wisely. The group worked hard at home and at two different camps at Texas Tech and Colorado State. They prepared themselves mentally and were dialed in to win when they pulled into June Conference.
The team had to mark 12 cards and give six sets of reasons first. They got it done. No seconds or the countless third- or fourth-place ribbons since 2000. These four are the champions.
The awards ceremony was tense. After overcoming the emotional shock of the district presidents ceding their offices to the newly elected candidates, the audience dried their eyes and braced themselves for another drama-filled climax to the judging season. The livestock contest is the last to be recognized, and the crowd thins just a little when the other contest results are complete.
In each category or species, the top 10 individuals are called first followed by the top five teams.
Rio Blanco County battled with Routt County all season, but the state contest brings the best Colorado 4-H has to offer, and Weld County as well as Adams County were making a run for first as well.
In sheep and goats, Collins was fourth and Shults finished second. The team placed second. Weld County won by 1 point out of 900 points possible.
No Rio Blanco County judge finished in the top 10 in hogs, and the team finished fifth. Weld County won hogs and the Rio Blanco team getting nervous. The team was thinking that the Denver contest, which is the third-place team’s national trip, would be OK, but it would be the team’s fourth or fifth trip to Denver. They wanted to get to Kentucky.
Then the emcee, Travis Taylor, moved to the cattle division. The cattle classes were a little different this year. For the first time in any one’s memory, there were no haltered show cattle classes at the 2015 State Contest. All of the area producers around CSU had their cattle on the road attending their junior national breed shows.
What a shame it was that the June conference had been scheduled a week later than usual and conflicted with so many national cattle shows. But the contestants had to evaluate five cattle classes, including two market steer classes, two fall-born heifer classes and one fall-born Lim Flex bull class. They gave a set of reasons on the performance hereford heifers and a class of market steers.
Shults was the top beef “judger,” Collins was 11th and Rio Blanco County won the beef division by 16 points over Weld.
Shults was second overall in placings and Lapp was 15th. The RBC team finished second in placings, losing to Adams County, which won placings by 21 points. The math was getting a little foggy now.
Rio Blanco County’s strength has been reasons all year, but it was hard to tell just yet.
Shullts was second in reasons and Collins was right behind in third while Dunham placed 16th. The top two teams left in reasons to be recognized were Weld and Rio Blanco. Rio Blanco County won reasons by eight points over Weld County. We had it then and we knew it, but you still had to sit and wait for the individual overall category to be called.
So, Shults won again, for the fifth time this season, and she was the 2015 Colorado State 4-H Livestock Judging High Individual overall. That brought on buckles, ribbons, a $1,000 CSU scholarship and a new cap.
Then, Rio Blanco County beat Weld County by 11 points out of a possible 2,700 possible points, to win the team’s first state livestock judging title that the team is aware of.
This is also the last year that the state contest will be held at the famous CSU Stock Judging Pavilion; it will be torn down this fall to make room for the new animal science building expansion.
The team and their families will spend the rest of the summer working to raise money to replenish their traveling coffers and prepare for the National 4-H Livestock Judging Contest held in Louisville, Ky., in early November as well as our regular season.