More Than 100 Youths Compete in Judging in January Livestock Judging Contest

Judging in January was held on January 25th in Raleigh and hosted by the NC Junior Hereford Association. More than a 100 youth competed in the livestock judging contest held annually. Youth judged cattle, sheep, goats, and pigs. They also gave reasons, and, for those who were beginners, a reasons clinic was held.

Livestock judging events and competitions are held throughout the year for youth to compete in across North Carolina and even nationally. Every workshop and competition help youth not only become better at judging livestock, but builds life skills and character that last a lifetime.

Judging livestock is not just about being able to analyze a pig or cow to see which has the best qualities, or to give a compelling set of reasons to an official, explaining what was seen in each animal. Judging livestock is about learning to be confident and poised. It is about paying attention to detail but also be able to look at the bigger picture. It’s about analyzing data and weighing that against the aesthetics of the animal. Judging livestock is about learning more about the livestock industry and how to improve it. For many, it is about becoming a better livestock showman. Knowing what the judge is looking for and being able to answer a judge’s questions, can certainly make one better in the ring. It is about being a competitor and putting in the practice. It is about developing relationships, friendships, and mentorships.

For some, livestock judging does not stop at the age of 18 (4-H age). It continues into college. Many youths receive scholarships to be on a collegiate livestock judging team. Some go on to become judging coaches or official judges of livestock shows.

So, every judging contest like Judging in January, prepares youth for the future. That future may be in judging, but for others it may be something completely different. Regardless, youth will be entering the future with more skills and be more prepared thanks to judging contests like Judging in January.

There is so much gratitude for all those who make these contests happen. From the sponsors to the officials, to the coaches and parents, you are making a difference in so many kids’ future.

While over a 100 hundred youth competed in Judging in January and gained experience, there were some individuals who walked away with top honors. Youth were divided by age categories-senior, intermediate, and junior. They were further divided into awards by species, overall, and reasons.

Overall top 5 for each category included:

Senior(14-19 years old):

1 Katherine Eastep, Forsyth/ Johnston County         

2  Emma McSwain, Lincoln County                          

3  Shelby Candler,Stokes County    

4  Rachel Penley, Wythe County                          

5  Wil Haines, Albemarle County                 

Intermediate (11-13 years old):

1 Grant Grubb,Wythe County                        

2 Hattie Jo Powell,Johnston County                        

3 Isaac Miller,Wythe County                          

4 Jordan Mitchem,Lincoln County                          

5 Scarlett Denning,Johnston County                        

Junior (10 years old and under):

1 Tristan Cox, Wythe County                        

2 Kaylee Revis, Buncombe County                         

3 Kennedy Lee, Johnston County                 

4 Isabella Taylor, Wythe County             

5 Jada Smith, Nash/Edgecombe County      

For a full list of results, visit

Congratulations to everyone! Here’s to livestock judging making better people for our future. 

About Marisa Linton See

Marisa grew up showing and raising livestock in NC. She has shown animals at the N.C. State Fair for 15 years and is a past youth livestock scholarship recipient. She is an N.C. State University graduate, agricultural photographer and blogger.

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