MSU Dairy Youth

Clinton County youth is state’s top junior dairy cattle judge for 2015, receives Sandra Place Memorial Award

Published: 2015-08-26

Youth from Clinton County were the top winners in the junior division of the state’s dairy cattle judging contest at this year’s Michigan 4-H Youth Dairy Days, an annual dairy youth activity held in conjunction with the Michigan Dairy Expo. This year’s expo, the 18th annual, took place July 21-25 at the Michigan State University (MSU) Pavilion for Agriculture and Livestock Education in East Lansing.


Miriam Cook, of Pewamo, was the top ranking individual overall in the junior division of this year’s dairy cattle judging contest. As the high individual overall in the junior division, she received the Sandra Place Memorial Award. Cook is the third youth to receive the award, which is presented in memory of Sandy Place, a lifelong dairy farmer and avid 4-H and youth leader and supporter from Perry.

Cook was also the high individual overall in the oral reasons portion of the dairy cattle judging contest junior division, as well as a member of the high team overall and in oral reasons. The other three members of the winning team were: Ian Black, of Eagle; Madison Halfman, of St. Johns; and Adalee Thelen, of St. Johns.


Youth are eligible to compete in one of three age divisions in the dairy cattle judging contest: novice, junior or senior. Participants in the junior category – for young people ages 11 to 14 – evaluated the conformation of eight classes of dairy animals (four animals in each class) and presented one set of oral reasons. Evaluation scores were tallied according to how closely the contestant’s placing matched the judges’ official placing. In the oral reasons presentation, which is comparable to making an oral defense case in court, judges assign individual scores to each contestant based on how well the young person can justify his or her reasons for placing the cows in the order he or she did. Contestants can earn a total of 50 points in both the evaluation and oral reasons parts of the contest for each class. They also complete a written quiz.


Rounding out the top 10 individuals overall in the junior division of the dairy cattle judging contest, in chronological order, were:

2. Katie Wilson, Isabella County (Blanchard)
3. Shannon Good, Allegan County (Caledonia)
4. Ian Black, Clinton County (Eagle)
5. Owen Bontekoe, Osceola County (Marion)
6. Evelyn Fuhrman, Shiawassee County (Perry)
7. Matthew Poling, Hillsdale County (Addison)
8. Jacob VanderMolen, Ottawa County (Allendale)
9. Devin Kora, Clinton County (Elsie)
10. Caitie Theisen, Isabella County (Mt. Pleasant)


Members of the second high team overall, and fifth team in oral reasons, were: Ben Crevier, of Corunna (Shiawassee County); Makenna Davies, of Wayland (Allegan County); Shannon Good, of Caledonia (Allegan County); and Josie Nash, of Elsie (Clinton County).


The third high team overall, and second team in oral reasons, represented Isabella County. Team members were: Caitie and Cristin Theisen, of Mt. Pleasant; Katie Wilson, of Blanchard; and Austin Zmrzlik, of Fremont.


Rounding out the top 10 individuals in the oral reasons contest in the junior division, in chronological order, were:

2. Ian Black, Clinton County (Eagle)
3. Katie Wilson, Isabella County (Blanchard)
4. Owen Bontekoe, Osceola County (Marion)
5. Brittany Dreyer, Ottawa County (Zeeland)
6. Makenna Davies, Allegan County (Wayland)
7. Blaine Pish, Branch County (Quincy)
8. Chrissy Polzin, Washtenaw County (Saline)
9. Joe Simon, Clinton County (Fowler)
10. Caitie Theisen, Isabella County (Mt. Pleasant)


Eleven youth received perfect scores on the quiz identifying anatomical cow parts: Shannon Good, of Allegan County; Ian Black, Miriam Cook, Dakota Dershem, Adalee Thelen, of Clinton County; Irene Nielsen, of Ingham County; Caitie Theisen, of Isabella County; Joanna Link, of Kent County; Owen Bontekoe, of Osceola County; and Kaila Barnes and Brittany Dreyer, of Ottawa County.


As the youth-centered portion of the Michigan Dairy Expo, the largest annual dairy event in the state, Michigan 4-H Youth Dairy Days offers young people interested in the dairy industry opportunities to compete for premiums, ribbons and scholarships in various educational activities, including dairy quiz bowls, dairy management contests, dairy cattle judging competitions and the Dairy Days youth show. This year, nearly 150 youth from around the state participated in one or more of the educational competitions, and winners may go on to represent Michigan in national competitions.


Awards and other recognition during Michigan 4-H Youth Dairy Days, along with other dairy youth and judging program activities conducted throughout the year, are made possible through the generous support of numerous businesses, organizations and individuals. These include: ABS Global, AIS Equipment, the Branch County Dairy Organization, the CHS Foundation, the Clinton County 4-H Dairy Council, Dairy Farmers of America, the District 1 and District VI Holstein associations, Drs. Joe and Denise Domecq, GreenStone Farm Credit Services, Hillsdale County Dairy Leaders, Ira Krupp, Lely, the Michigan Dairy Memorial Foundation, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Michigan Farm Bureau, the Michigan Holstein Association, the Michigan Jersey Cattle Club, the Michigan Milk Producers Association, the Michigan Purebred Dairy Cattle Association, the MSU College of Veterinary Medicine Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, the MSU Dairy Club, the MSU Dairy Cattle Judging Team, the MSU Department of Animal Science, MOO-ville Creamery, NorthStar Cooperative, the Osceola County 4-H Dairy Boosters, the Ottawa County 4-H Dairy Committee, Rodney Pennock, Purina Animal Nutrition, the Shiawassee County 4-H Dairy Association, the United Dairy Industry of Michigan, and the Vitality Dairy crew.


For more information about the Michigan 4-H dairy youth program, contact Elischer at 517-432-4306. For more information about the Michigan Dairy Expo, contact Dr. Joe Domecq at 517-353-7855.


The 2016 Michigan Dairy Expo is scheduled for July 18-22 at MSU.