The Connors State College Livestock Judging Team finished in first place at the 66th National Barrow Show Swine Judging Contest in Austin, Minn., on Sept. 10, 2012.
With a team total of 3,249 points out of a possible 3,500, Connors State College, Warner, OK, won first place honors by a margin of 19 points over second place Black Hawk East Community College, Kewanee, IL. Redlands Community College placed third and Lakeland College was fourth with team scores of 3,226 and 3,162, respectively.
Winning this contest marks the first time to do so in school history. Given that the Midwest is the heart of commercial hog production, the fact that a team so far from industry roots was named champion marks quite a feat in the timeline of the National Barrow Show.
Prior to 1974, community/junior colleges and universities competed in one unified “collegiate” division. In the 38 years since the Junior College Division was introduced, no Oklahoma team has won the champion honors at the National Barrow Show Swine Judging Contest. Connors’ win is a first for all Oklahoma community and junior college teams.
“I’m extremely proud of this group for the amount of hard work and dedication they’ve put into this group effort,” said head coach Brandon Gunn. “To see that level of commitment on a daily basis from them and for it to all pay off, just makes this so rewarding.”
Connors State College also had three team members who placed in the top 10, individually. Team member Dakota Moyers of Newcastle, OK, secured the second high overall individual award, while teammate Jacob McKillip of Lafayette, IN, was third high individual. Tyler Mackey of Blum, TX, was tenth high individual, and Ian Schaefer of Garden City, TX, and Clay Carlson of Stoneham, CO, finished eleventh and thirteenth, respectively.
The contest consisted of six traditional classes of breeding gilts and market hogs, along with classes of performance boars, keep/cull gilts and one class of truckload hogs. The boar and gilt classes were equipped with scanned data measuring carcass strength and growth and maternal performance of the swine. Portraying a realistic scenario for swine farmers, the keep/cull class required participants to choose four females from a group of eight that they would retain as breeding stock and four they would cull.
This year, the National Barrow Show also installed a truckload hogs class, in which participants ranked a group of six hogs as a whole in relation to other groups. According to Gunn, this is consistent with the daily tasks of commercial hog farmers in their finishing barns.
At the conclusion of class placing, contestants presented oral reasons on three classes and performance boars.
Coached by Gunn and Dodge Nichols, Connors State College livestock judging team members include: Dakota Moyers, Newcastle, OK; Jacob McKillip Lafayette, IN; Tyler Mackey, Blum, TX; Ian Schaefer, Garden City, TX; Clay Carlson, Stoneham, CO; Garrett Foote, Texico, NM; Cassie Godwin, Prescott, AR; Brad Isbell, Braggs, OK; Trey Lockhart, Haworth, OK; Josh Walton, Opelika, AL; Brazos Williams, Memphis, TX; Matthew Murdoch, Marion, TX; and Gavin Wisecarver, Frankfort, MO.
The team competes next on September 21 at the Flint Hills Classic in El Dorado, KS.