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Illinois 4-H Livestock Judging Team Crowned National Champions

Tuesday, January 18, 2022
Green clovers with a white 4-H logo

Louisville, KY – The Illinois 4-H Livestock Judging Team recently topped 34 states to bring home the National 4-H Livestock Judging title. The contest was held in conjunction with the North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, KY.  

History was made as this year’s contest marked the second time in the contest’s over 100-year history that the top two teams ended in a tie that necessitated a tie-breaker. The top placing between Illinois and Virginia came down to an examination of the overall reason scores with Illinois emerging as the national champion.  

“The tie-breaker definitely added another level of suspense to the contest,” says Dan Jennings, University of Illinois Extension 4-H youth development animal systems educator. “As they re-examined the scores, I think it really showed the team that every point and every answer matter, especially at this level of competition.”

This year’s Illinois State 4-H Livestock Judging Team included Ty Knodle of Montgomery County, Emerson Tarr of McLean County, Delaney Hemann of Madison County, Braden Musgrave of Pike County, Katelyn Engel of Knox County, and Colton Russell of Warren County.

The National 4-H Livestock Judging Contest is the premier event of education and competition for youth involved in livestock evaluation programs. In addition to the national title, the Illinois team placed first in Sheep & Goats, first in Swine, first in Oral Reasons, and second in Beef Cattle.  

Individual team members also finished with honors.

“It was amazing to see the team perform so well together, but also to watch each individual team members’ expertise shine as well,” says Jennings.

Emerson Tarr of McLean County placed third High Individual Overall in the contest. Emerson also finished third in Sheep & Goats, fifth in Swine, and first in Oral Reasons.

Ty Knodle of Montgomery County placed fifth High Individual Overall in the contest.  Ty also finished second in Sheep & Goats, seventh in Oral Reasons, and 10th in Performance Cattle.

Delaney Hemann of Madison County placed 11th High Individual Overall, 12th in Swine, and 11th in Oral Reasons.

Braden Musgrave of Pike County placed third in Beef Cattle, second in Performance Cattle, and 12th in Oral Reasons.

The team was coached by University of Illinois graduate student Tony Dupuis. The Illinois 4-H Foundation provides support for this program.    

About Illinois 4-H: Illinois 4-H is the flagship youth development program of University of Illinois Extension and administered through the College of Agriculture, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences. 4-H grows true leaders, youth who are empowered for life today and prepared for a career tomorrow. The hands-on approach in 4-H gives young people guidance, tools, and encouragement, and then puts them in the driver’s seat to make great things happen. Independent research confirms the unparalleled impact of the 4-H experience, demonstrating that young people are four times more likely to contribute to their communities; two times more likely to make healthier choices; two times more likely to be civically active; and two times more likely to participate in STEM programs. 

About Extension:  Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities. 

Source: Dan Jennings, 4-H Youth Development Extension Educator, Animal Systems, djjennin@illinois.edu

Writer:  Carissa Nelson, Media Communications Manager, 4-H State Office, carissa7@illinois.edu