November 25, 1999 | By: Mark Eclov
Lexington, KY

It may only be late November, but the state of Kentucky can already brag that it has one team that has made it to the final four in a national contest during the 1999-2000 school year.

The 1999 Kentucky 4-H livestock judging team finished third overall at this year's national livestock judging contest held in Louisville on November 16. Two members of the team achieved "All-American" status.

The team consisted of Bret Jackson, Bourbon County; Ellie Fryman, Boone County; Aaron Hartman, Shelby County; and Brittany Kane, Harrison County.

This is big news for anyone familiar with the American livestock industry. The team competed against 35 other state teams comprised of over 130 individuals from across the country.

"This is the highest overall placing a Kentucky livestock judging team has had in at least 30 years," said Monty Chappell, team coach and a 4-H Livestock specialist in the UK college of Agriculture.

Jackson placed sixth overall and Fryman placed 14th among the 130 national contestants. The top twenty finishers received "All American" status.

Chappell added that it is rare to have two "All-Americans" from the same team. Only Minnesota and Indiana matched Kentucky's achievement this year.

"I think we can be very proud of these four young persons because they are good people, hard workers and real competitors who hung in there through some very close contests," said Chappell.

The team achieved its third place overall ranking behind a second place finish in sheep judging and fourth place finishes in oral reasons and swine judging.

"The pressure these kids work under is as draining as any top notch athletic contest," noted Chappell. For instance, they have to judge ten classes of animals during a three- hour time period and if you don't get every class placed well you will have a very difficult time competing with the best."

The team refined its skills for the national contest by putting up some impressive scores in two other regional contests. The team was second overall at the Keystone International Livestock Exposition in Harrodsburg, Pennsylvania and placed first in beef cattle judging at the Eastern National Livestock Show in Baltimore, Maryland.

National accolades aside, it is a big honor just to make the state team. Each year over 130 senior contestants from over 30 Kentucky counties compete for a position on the 4-person roster.

"Since June, these young people have dedicated about 25 full days to practice, travel and competition to achieve these honors. They and their parents deserve a lot of credit and this year they did not go unrewarded," said Chappell.



Writer: Mark Eclov (606) 257-7223
Source: Monty Chappell (606) 257-2716