The Virginia 4-H Livestock Judging and Livestock Skillathon teams finished first and third in their respective national contests, which were held in November at the North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, Kentucky. The Livestock Judging Team competed against 31 other teams in the 92nd National 4-H Livestock Judging Contest. The team's first-place finish gave Virginia back-to-back national championships. The team beat second-place South Dakota by 10 points and third-place Pennsylvania by 16 points.

Members of the Livestock Judging Team included

  • Kam Childers of Ewing, Virginia.
  • Sarah Jane French of Cumberland, Virginia.
  •  Jenna Kibler of Edinburg, Virginia.
  • Simon Liggett of Mt. Solon, Virginia.
  • Jake McCall (alternate) of Greenville, Virginia.
  • Cole Reeves (alternate) of Churchville, Virginia.
  • Cassidy Simmons (alternate) of Staunton, Virginia.

Bain Wilson, youth livestock educator at Virginia Tech, coached the team.

Consistency across the three species judged was what allowed this team to be successful. Virginia was the only team to rank in the top 10 in beef cattle (third), sheep/goats (second), and swine (sixth). The team also finished fourth in reasons.

Individual awards were garnered by Kibler, who placed second overall, sixth in sheep/goats, third in beef cattle, third in performance beef cattle, 12th in swine, and 13th in reasons. French placed 14th overall and 19th in swine; Childers placed 10th in sheep/goats; and Liggett placed 17th in beef cattle and 20th in performance beef cattle. Kibler and French were named All-Americans for placing in the top 20 overall.

When asked about the team’s first-place finish, French said, “It’s proof that hard work and determination pay off.”

As a result of its national championship, the team is eligible to represent the U.S. in the Livestock Judging Contest at the 2017 Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh, Scotland in June. While in Europe, the team will also have the opportunity to tour farms and livestock operations in England, Ireland, and Scotland. For information about supporting these teams with a contribution to the Virginia 4-H Livestock Youth Development Endowment, contact Wilson at or call 540-231-5253.

The success for competitors from Virginia continued as the Rockingham County Skillathon Team won third place overall in a field of 20 teams at the National 4-H Skillathon Contest. The team also earned second place in evaluation and third place in quality assurance and identification.

The four-member team included

  • Hannah Craun of Bridgewater, Virginia.
  • Paul Craun of Bridgewater, Virginia.
  • Seth Diehl of Mount Crawford, Virginia.
  • Carly Carpenter of Mount Crawford, Virginia.
2016 Virginia 4-H Livestock Skillathon Team
The 2016 Virginia 4-H Livestock Skillathon Team from left to right: Tammy Craun, coach; Hannah Craun; Seth Diehl; Paul Craun; and Dave Walker, Coach.

Individual awards were received by Hannah Craun, who placed sixth overall; Paul Craun, who placed 15th overall; Diehl, who placed 16th overall; and Carpenter, who placed 33rd overall. Hannah Craun, Paul Craun, and Diehl earned All-American honors as well.

Coaches Dave Walker of Port Republic, Virginia, and Tammy Craun of Bridgewater, Virginia, have been working with team members throughout the year to prepare for the state and national contests.

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