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1,200 Compete in WC Aggies' 53rd Annual Livestock Judging Contest

Participation Sets Modern-Day Attendance Record

February 23, 2012

Some 1,200 high schools students and WC Aggies packed Roberts Arena buildings for the 53rd annual Livestock Judging Contest.

Some 1,200 high schools students and WC Aggies packed Roberts Arena buildings for the 53rd annual Livestock Judging Contest.

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Nearly 1,200 high school students from around Ohio and neighboring states honed their skills at judging swine, sheep, horses and beef and dairy cattle Wednesday (Feb. 22) at the Wilmington College Aggies’ 53rd annual Livestock Judging Contest.

The 1,194 students in attendance represent a modern-day record and eclipsed last year’s participation by more than 230. The students came from 59 schools in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky.

Billed as the largest competition of its kind east of the Mississippi, WC’s Livestock Judging Contest held annually at Roberts Arena is one of the largest such attractions in the country and typically among the first competitions of the year.

Harold Thirey, assistant professor of agriculture, credits social media with generating additional interest in this year’s event, as he offered the 69 freshmen in his animal science classes bonus credit for promoting it via Facebook, Twitter and other social media.

“In addition to Facebook, that good weather made travel more appealing and, of course, the Livestock Judging Contest is well known by high school teachers, advisers and students involved in 4-H, vocational agriculture and Future Farmers of America,” he said.

Thirey said the competition represents one of the distinct components of Wilmington’s agriculture program, which, along with Ohio State University, is the only school in Ohio that offers a bachelor’s degree curriculum in agriculture. WC’s program was established in 1948.

“Where else can you find 1,200 students having a good time all in one place,” he said. “It’s a great thing seeing them doing something that is constructive, educational and fun,” he said.

Also, some 125 of WC’s 180 agriculture majors were involved in some facet of the event.

The WC Aggies host the competition as a community service in which they share their animal judging expertise in an event in which high school students seek to perfect their skills for upcoming livestock judging contests sponsored at their county fairs and by Future Farmers of America organizations.

The contest features WC students inside a pen with as many as 10 sheep, hogs or cows. On the rails of the enclosure, the high school students observe the animals and judge the quality characteristics of the animals in each class while the Aggies manipulate the animals around the pen, ensuring everyone gets a good view of each animal.

Also, the contest features agronomy components.

“Our College students get to work with some high quality animals and interact with sponsors (which might have some job networking applications), but the greatest satisfaction for the Aggies is simply putting on such a successful event for high school students,” Thirey said.

“The Aggies is a community service organization and the Livestock Judging Contest is a community service project.”

Wilmington College is one of only two institutions in Ohio to offer a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture degree. It features concentrations in agricultural business, agronomy, animal science, equine studies (minor) and agricultural education.