Writer: D'Lyn Ford
LAS CRUCES -- Evaluating muscle structure, understanding breed characteristics and estimating meat production are just a few of the skills that led a group of Torrance County 4-H members to the 1999 National 4-H Livestock Judging Contest recently in Louisville, Ky. Testing these skills under pressure, the team placed ninth in the country.
Team members Kristen Caraway, Cole Gardner, Craig Lockwood and Erin McMath competed against 35 other teams. "Each state was allowed to enter one team," said Marilyn Mignery, Torrance County 4-H agent with New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service. "Our Torrance County team placed first in the statewide contest, held during the New Mexico State 4-H Conference this summer."
At the national competition, the Torrance County team judged 10 classes of livestock, ranking the animals from best to worst. They also answered judges' questions in two classes and presented oral responses for their rankings in four classes.
In addition to the ninth-place overall award, the team placed fifth nationally in sheep judging. Gardner received individual awards for placing third in sheep and 11th overall.
Team coach Bill Gardner accompanied the 4-H'ers to the competition, held in conjunction with the North American International Livestock Exposition.
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