They're back! After a six-year drought, Fort Hays State University has brought back its livestock judging team program.
The livestock judging program at FHSU began in 1973 and, after the six-year hiatus, the university hopes to continue its rich history of livestock judging under the guidance of new coach Kolby Burch.
Burch comes to the program with a wealth of experience. He was a member of a National Champion Junior College Livestock Judging Team and a Reserve National Champion Team at Iowa State.
One great team in FHSU's history was the 1989 team, which was composed of members from all over the western united states. Rose Mary (Forbes) McGivney, a Kaycee, WY, native, was a member of that team, which was second in Kansas City ahead of Kansas State University and second at the Arizona National in Phoenix, AZ. McGivney was second high individual overall at the American Royal.
"It was a great experience," said McGivney. "The skills I learned I took with me and utilize everyday."
Team members for 2003 team members include Erin Herrmann, Ford, KS, junior; Lacy Davis, Haswell, CO, junior; Tressie Bryant, Penokee, KS, sophomore; Eric Betschart, Ulysses, KS, junior; Levi Mitzner, Larned, KS, sophomore; Jerod Horchem, Ransom, KS, sophomore; Bo Ringer, Concordia, KS, junior; and Brandon Gibson, Hiawatha, KS, senior.
All fall this team has been practicing for future contest success.
"We aren't going to these contests just to say we went, we're going to be competitive," said Burch.
"The more competitive the team becomes the more self-confident the team members become and that should transcend into success in any type of endeavors the students partake in after graduation," he said.
The team looks to make its mark at the first contest of the season in Denver in January 2003.
Confidence isn't the only thing that can be gained from livestock judging, said Burch. He said that people gain life skills such as decision making and communication skills through oral reasoning. In livestock judging, a student is presented with the facts and must make a decision in a certain time period, independently. The judge must be decisive and think on his or her feet.
"People simply become more employable after going through the joys and discomforts of livestock judging," said Burch.
Team members were asked what they would like get out of livestock judging.
Erin Herrmann: "I would like to gain livestock evaluation knowledge."
Tressie Bryant: "I look forward to meeting many leaders of the livestock industry and traveling all over America."
Lacy Davis: "Challenging and dedicating myself to judging and in return reaping the benefits of hard work."
Eric Betschart: "I want to become more decisive and communicate more effectively."
Brandon Gibson: "Gain life skills."
Levi Mitzner: "I would like to become a better public speaker."
Bo Ringer: "Become supremely confident in myself."
Jared Horchem: "Learn more about today's standards for livestock evaluation."