The team, which is composed of all Gordon Central High School students, represented Georgia in the national competition held in Kentucky. Georgia has not had a livestock judging team finish at this level since 1920, according to coach and Gordon Central Agriculture teacher Melissa Hubbard.
The team was the high team in the sheep/goats category, 6th high team in beef and 2nd high team in oral reasons. Three team members, Krissi McCurdy, Taylor Langford and Timothy Hubbard were also named All Americans (top 20 individuals at the competition).
The National 4-H contest in Louisville, Ky., is held every year in conjunction with the North American International Livestock Exposition, said Hubbard.
“It’s the largest livestock show in the world,” she said.
The judging contest is a three-day event composed of 4-H Livestock Judging teams, Junior College teams and Senior College teams from all over the United States with each team competing at their respective level. This year’s 4-H contest included 28 state teams from all across America.
The Gordon County team qualified for the National contest after they won the Georgia State 4-H Livestock Judging Contest at the University of Georgia in March of this year. The win gave them the opportunity to represent Georgia in the national competition, and the team’s four members, McCurdy, Langford, Timothy and Lea Crump, were also named the top four individuals in the state contest with the Timothy being named High Individual.
These wins didn’t come without a cost. Since the summer of 2008, the team has stayed busy by traveling to 16 different states and visiting 15 different colleges and universities all over the U.S. to attend camps, workouts and contests, said Hubbard.
“They have logged over 25,000 miles, who knows how many hours and spent short nights in the cheapest hotels available,” she said.
Now in their senior year, all four team members have either obtained full ride scholarships or have offers from colleges to judge at the collegiate level.
Since becoming the Reserve National Champion 4-H Livestock Judging team, the they have been invited to compete in the Royal Highland Show in Scotland next year. The biggest problem they will face getting there is the cost.
“It took a lot of years for us to get to this point,” said Timothy. “Going to Scotland would be a great end.”
For more information about the Royal Highland Show visit, www.royalhighlandshow.org.