Virginia’s 4-H Skillathon Team placed first at the National 4-H Livestock Skillathon contest, held Nov. 14, 2013, during the North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, Ky. 

This was the second time in two years that a team from Virginia has won the contest.

The team from Virginia included

  • Lindsey Fenster of Buchanan;
  • Michael Roney of Buchanan;
  • Sarah Harris of Buchanan; and
  • Brandon Hamilton of Buena Vista.

Patty Hamilton and Mary Lynne Harris served as the team’s coaches.

Overall, Virginia’s team scored 1,539 points to top 17 other state teams. Kansas and Tennessee placed second and third, respectively.

Individually, Fenster finished first overall, Harris was fourth overall, and Michael Roney was eighth overall. The team placed first in identification, ninth in evaluation, and first in quality assurance.

"By participating in the skillathon contest I learned numerous things about the livestock and agriculture industries, but perhaps the best thing I gained through this experience was the lasting friendships with my teammates," said Harris.

Skillathon is a knowledge-based competition in meat and animal sciences. 4-H members compete in a series of individual and team activities in multiple areas of livestock production. Participants in these events learn about different breeds of livestock, external parts and skeletal anatomy of livestock, feedstuffs used in livestock diets, equipment used in raising and showing livestock and in processing meat, wholesale and retail cuts of meat, expected progeny differences, common calculations used to measure animal performance and profitability, judging hay, judging meats, and judging performance classes of livestock. 

Team members had to answer questions, perform tasks, and justify their decisions to the judges. The contest was conducted and judged by 4-H Extension agents from different states.

"These 4-Hers were motivated and practiced really hard for this contest. They worked numerous hours during the months before the contest, both together and independently. They were supportive of each other as individuals, and meshed very well as a team," said Patty Hamilton, coach. "We are very proud of the team and the individual accomplishments. Mary Lynne and I are very lucky to have been able to work with this group of youngsters. We also like to thank Eric Stogdale, an agriculture education teacher at Fort Defiance High School, for his support and encouragement.”



Written by Samantha Huff of Christiansburg, Va., a senior majoring in English in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.

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