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Thursday, 06 September 2012 10:10

Southwest Sask. 4-H members judging at Agribition

Written by  Jessi Gowan
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The southwest will have quite a presence at this year’s Agribition, with several members of the provincial judging team from local 4-H groups.

Following the provincial competition held in Swift Current, the Top 8 finalists will be moving on to compete at the International 4-H and Youth Judging Competition.
The team is comprised of Moose Jaw’s Megan Rosso, Melfort’s Katie Wright, Midale’s Logan Martinson, Shellbrook’s Karen Cromartie, Central Butte’s Dane Oram, Abbey’s Julia Pawlitza of Abbey, Gull Lake’s Lexie Girodat, and Arborfield’s Brianne Schmitt.
“The judging team is make up of members from all regions of the province who competed their way through different levels to earn a spot at Agribition,” explained Karrie Watson, southwest regional specialist with Saskatchewan 4-H. “It’s a really important part of 4-H, because it is agriculturally based. This teaches kids who might not be involved with agriculture how to make decisions and develop the skills to explain why they’ve placed something the way they have. It teaches them that when they look at an animal, they are choosing the best possible animals that are becoming a part of our food chain, in products that end up on our tables.”
Participants judge everything from various classes of beef and horses to dairy, grains, and even grasses. They also need to judge a mystery class, which could be anything — a tennis shoe, or welding.
“One year, they couldn’t find chickens for the mystery class, so they actually had people dress up as chickens,” explained Watson. “It’s basically about looking at something and picking out the best qualities, and explaining how you came to that conclusion through oral reasoning.”
Judging is offered to club members right away, but to qualify for the provincial team, members must be 18 years old. Each club participates in competitions and hosts judging clinics to help students learn the necessary skills.
“For the provincial team, they are really looking for people who are consistent with their judging, and who know what they are talking about,” Watson said. “You could have someone who is really good with judging horses and sheep, but maybe not everything else. You need to know the terminology and be able to explain what you are looking for in an animal, and why you’ve placed things the way you have.”
Watson feels the judging aspect is an important part of 4-H, helping youth develop decision-making skills and the ability to be confident public speakers. She encourages anyone to get involved with their local 4-H club.
“It’s for anybody — you don’t have be a superstar athlete or a genius in school,” she noted. “You can be yourself. You’re great being you, and we really try to show you that you can do anything if you just give it a try. 4-H kids are involved with everything, getting hands-on experience so they have the confidence they need. It’s something the whole family can get involved in.”

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