Jet-setting Wythe County 4-Hers talk of travels
BLACKSBURG, Va. — Days after members of the Wythe County, Va. 4-H Livestock Judging Team returned from a trip of a lifetime members were eager to talk about their experiences.
The team was on the Virginia Tech campus for the State Livestock Judging contest.
During a break in competition they competed for a chance to tell of their adventures.
The party making the trip by plane included 20 4-H club members and 13 adults. They were gone for nearly eight days, having traveled from Charlotte, N. C., by way of Newark, N.J. to Denver, Colo.
From there they went to Laramie, Wyo., where they participated in a two-and-a-half-day livestock judging camp at the University of Wyoming.
“It was my first airplane ride,” club member Alejeh Nunley exclaimed. He was excited about seeing all the buffalo as well.
The trip was made possible by club fund raisers and generous sponsors gifts, Matthew Miller, Wythe County Extension agent, reported. In all they raised $12,000.
Miller said that following the camp the group traveled to two cattle operations, the Oreign Bull Stud and Basin Angus, both in Montana.
The club also got to visit Mount Rushmore and Yellowstone National Park and found themselves near some violent weather.
“I was almost sucked up by a tornado,” Zion Ball said excitedly, even days later. He reported being both scared and fascinated. Tanner Crowder shared Ball’s feelings about the tornado.
The youths said they were about 10 miles from the funnel cloud but they were clearly very impressed with what Mother Nature was doing.
Abby Aker shared their experiences in Yellowstone National Park where a coyote ran down the road in front of them and a herd of buffalo crossed the road. She was thrilled about the calves running and playing as the herd crossed.
Maggie Copenhaver chimed in to the conversation to tell that they had seen grizzly bears as well.
She touched on the basic reason for the trip, their visits to beef cattle operations. She said the Oreign ranch, home to Angus, Simmental, Hereford and Gelvieh cattle was her favorite stop.
Rachel Penley liked Basin Ranch best.
“I loved it, she declared. “I wanted to stay there forever.”
Most club members said they had learned how to reasons better when judging livestock.
These were one of the skills they had needed before the interview as they competed in the Tech 4-H Livestock Judging Contest. They also worked on improving the vocabulary need in livestock judging.
“I learned pigs are very hard to judge,” Abby Aker said. She prefers judging heifers.
The proof of what the group of young people ranging in age from nine to 16 learned came at the end of the day’s judging. Time after time the junior winners who called to receive awards were from the Wythe County Livestock Judging Team. The trip appeared to have given them a solid foundation in building their skills and a contagious enthusiasm for the competition.
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