Warner, OK – The sixth annual Connors State College 4-H and FFA Cattle Grading Contest was held at the Warner, Okla., campus Bull Test Facility June 4. This year’s contest saw 94 student participants, ranging from sixth grade to recent high school graduates.
CSC provided team plaques and individual medals, as well as scholarships – valued at $800 – to the top individual in each 4-H or FFA division. Cash prizes were provided by the American Farmers and Ranchers, represented by Steve Thompson, Policy and Membership Development Coordinator; Lynn Fariss, Youth and Education Coordinator; and Bailey Kliewer, Youth Intern.
Cattle Grading is the evaluation of the carcass quality and projected growth pattern of beef cattle. Students assess the animal’s gender, age, frame size, muscling and body condition. To excel in the contest, participants must employ their knowledge of high-quality cattle traits to choose animals that will be profitable in real-life production situations. The competitive season for cattle grading started in May and continues to October when the state contest will be held at the Tulsa State Fair.
“The Agriculture Division at Connors is excited to provide these opportunities for FFA and 4-H,” said Debby Golden, Chair of the CSC Division of Agriculture and event organizer. “We believe that it is important to cultivate an interest in agriculture among our youth, if our industry is to remain strong in the future.”
At the beginning of the event, the youth participants listened and learned from a one-hour educational seminar on commercial cattle grading presented by Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry (ODAFF) Consultant on Rural Development Gary Bledsoe and ODAFF Market Development Coordinator Jason Harvey. Participants learned about production challenges, such as how to choose replacement heifers and how to determine when an aged cow needs to be culled.
“The cattle grading contests are extremely applicable to real world production,” said Blake Nelson, Director of CSC Ranch Operations. “Each student learns the types of feeder and slaughter cattle that are desirable and, in turn, how to identify important traits that are currently of value. If you know how to identify market demands, you can be successful in any business venture!”
During the contest, four-person teams practiced their skills by grading 15 head of commercial cattle provided by the Connors State College Farm Operations. Awards were earned by the top three teams and the top five individuals in three divisions: 4-H, Junior FFA (8th, 9th & 10th grade) and Senior FFA (11th-12th).
High individuals in the Senior FFA division were Natalie Hofschulte, Wyandotte FFA, in first place; Tyler Comptom, Wyandotte FFA, in second place; Christina Hastings, Beggs FFA, in third place; Emily Kell, Morris FFA, in fourth place; and Levi Hill, Oktaha FFA, in fifth place.
High individuals in the Junior FFA division were Truitt Taylor, Oklahoma Union FFA, in first place; Jacob Auer, Oklahoma Union FFA, in second place; Sam Barron, Oklahoma Union FFA, in third place; Krista Svendsen, Beggs FFA, in fourth place; and Lauren Pendergrass, Beggs FFA, in fifth place.
High individuals in the 4-H division were Mazie Richards, Oktaha 4-H, in first place; Henry Auer, Oklahoma Union 4-H, in second place; Paden Snell, Pittsburg County 4-H, in third place; Mikey Meffore, Pittsburg County 4-H, in fourth place; and Kyla Taylor, Oklahoma Union 4-H, in fifth place.
High individuals in the adult “bragging rights” division were Kevin Stacy, Oklahoma Union FFA Chapter, in first place; Jason Couch, South Coffeyville, in second place; and Rockne Maxson, of Miami, in third place.
The top-placing Senior FFA teams were:
1st Place: Wyandotte FFA Chapter: members Lane House, Kalyn McKibben, Tyler Compton and Natalie Hofschulte; adviser Phillip Hofschulte.
2nd Place: Beggs FFA Chapter: members Christina Hastings, Skylar Woodard, Lane Cypert and Caitie Arnold; advisers Robbie Ross and Derrick Markes.
3rd Place: Oktaha FFA Chapter: members Grace Flusche, Stetson Richards, Layne Stephens and Levi Hill; adviser Justin Stacy.
The top-placing Junior FFA teams were:
1st Place: Oklahoma Union FFA Chapter: members Truitt Taylor, Sam Barron, Jacob Auer and Dakota Handke; advisers Kevin Stacy and Blake Collier.
2nd Place: Beggs FFA Chapter: members Ember Ennis, Krista Svendsen, Emily Reed and Lauren Pendergrass; advisers Robbie Roberts and Derrick Markes.
3rd Place: Oklahoma Union FFA Chapter: members Bailey Kerns, Mekayla Lowery, Brianna Looney and Tyler Gibson; advisers Kevin Stacy and Blake Collier.
The top-placing 4-H team was:
1st Place: Pittsburg County 4-H: members Paden Snell, Alexis Cavener, Mikey Meffore and Lonnie Swarer; educators Darrell Hightower and Amber Hitchcock.
Contestants also were asked to compete in a “Guess the Weight” Contest. International Grand Champion Santa Gertrudis Bull “CSC Hitchhiker” topped the scale at 2098. Kevin Stacy, Oklahoma Union FFA adviser, hit the nail on the mark with an exact guess, winning the adult division. Two student competitors guessed within 2 pounds of “Hitch’s” weight, earning CSC caps. The students were Henry Auer from Oklahoma Union and Paden Snell of Crowder.
Find photos from the event on Facebook, at: www.facebook.com/ConnorsState