NJClivestockjudgersshineatP.cfm NJClivestockjudgersshineatP.cfm NJC livestock judgers shine at Phoenix and Denver
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NJC livestock judgers shine at Phoenix and Denver


The Northeastern Junior College Livestock Judging Team started spring semester on a high note winning big at both the Arizona National Livestock Show in Phoenix and the National Western Stock Show in Denver. The team placed second at Arizona and captured a third place overall award at Denver.

In Phoenix, at the end of December, two Morgan County students, Stephanie Lebsock, a sophomore from Fort Morgan, and Lynnette Bass, a sophomore from Brush, garnered a great deal of attention when they pulled in high scores that helped the NJC team to earn a total of 3,150 points, to trail by only 15 points behind juco judging powerhouse Clarendon College (Texas) which took first place at the Arizona show with a 3,165 score.

Lebsock was named high individual overall at Phoenix. She placed first in beef, first in sheep, and fifth in swine for 834 total points. Bass was the second high overall individual at this show, placing third in beef, third in swine and third in reasons allowing her to toss in 832 more points. Teammate Scott Dean of Imperial, Neb., was named fifth high overall individual by placing second in the beef competition. As a team, NJC's judgers won first place overall in swine, second high in beef, second high in reasons and third high in sheep.

The NJC team returned home from Arizona to spend two weeks preparing for the National Western, which paid off in a big way.

"We win and lose as a team of eight," explains Ben Cooley, NJC livestock judging coach. Cooley said that NJC has eight sophomore students on its traveling team; however, most of the contests only allow for five students to be 'on the floor' competing. The others on the team are usually able to judge but they are labeled as 'alternates' and their scores do not go toward the team score, so these students are competing for individual awards. At some shows, they have a whole category of competition just for the alternates. Some colleges will have only five students who travel and compete; others may have up to 10 students traveling and competing. Cooley has to identify which of his eight team members will be the five on the floor the night before the competition begins. Judging on the floor for NJC at Denver this year were Kirby Carpenter (Kiowa), Kyle Mauro (Pueblo), Colton Kinsey (Opheim, Mont.), Lynnette Bass (Brush), and Eric Hinton (Monte Vista). These students teamed up to be named the third high team overall. Stephanie Lebsock, Scott Dean and Katharine Johnson (Yoder, Wyo.) are also members of the team.

At the National Western, NJC's team took first place in the sheep category, seventh in swine, 10th in beef and fifth in reasons. Kinsey was named 10th high overall individual at the contest. He scored first overall in market beef, eighth in reasons, ninth in sheep and ninth in swine. Mauro was the third high individual in sheep judging, was in the top 50 for beef, reasons, swine and market beef, allowing him to be named 14th high individual overall. Hinton was named 27th high individual overall; Bass was named 31st and Carpenter was 43rd.

"Denver was a very impressive contest for us because we were competing against 28 other schools and the talent runs very deep across the nation," said Cooley. "We have beaten every team in the nation this year at one national contest or another; that means we are on the right track to winning one ourselves."

The NJC team travels to Fort Worth in early February. They have been working hard on horse judging skills, and this Texas contest also requires that the teams compete in equine classes in addition to the other livestock classes.

"I'm extremely proud of the team's continued hard work and accomplishments," concluded Cooley.


(Mug photos provided are individually named.)

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