Aggies’ Livestock Judging Contest Attracts Record 2000-Plus Participants

March 9, 2021

Virtual Format Interested Contestants from as Far Away as Idaho

When it looked like the pandemic might force cancellation of the Aggies’ Livestock Judging Contest for the first time in 63 years, club members employed the adage, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” and devised a “Wilmington way” to present the venerable contest.

PICTURED: This photo is from the 2020 Livestock Judging Contest. The 2021 event essentially looked the same only students judged animals from their computer screens instead of from outside the fence.

The result was a virtual contest March 3 that attracted a whopping 2,111 contestants — a 66 percent increase over last year’s record 1,402 participants — from Ohio and neighboring states to as far away as Idaho.

Indeed, the 2021 competition, which annually is well known as among the new year’s first and largest judging contests east of the Mississippi — just like always — provided students with an opportunity to hone their skills in agronomy and judging swine, sheep, goats, equine, beef and dairy cattle.

The competition featured pre-recorded videos of the animals and was accessible throughout the day to accommodate participants in various time zones.

WC junior Carley Asher, one of the event’s student organizers, said it was important that the Aggies and Collegiate 4-H Club proceed with the annual Livestock Judging Contest, which has been a put on by students as a community service for more than six decades.

“When we knew it would be impossible to hold an in-person contest this year, we felt we could be successful with a virtual competition that will give participants a worthwhile judging experience,” she said. “It was different, but we liked the idea of expanding the opportunity to an even greater number of students than the record number we hosted last year.”

Winners were: Agronomy — individual, Mack Plotner of North Union, and team, North Union; Dairy — individual, Elyse Wilson of Mechanicsburg, and team, Newton-MVCTC; Equine — individual, Bella Dangelis of Delaware Area Career Center, and team, Ross-Butler Tech; and General Livestock — individual, Luke Kiefer of Ross-Butler Tech, and team, Eastern Brown.