Youth from Pennsylvania’s 4-H program descended upon Penn State’s University Park campus for the annual 4-H Animal Judging Day on June 20, showcasing their skills across various animal judging events.

The event drew 154 participants, ages 10 to 18, who judged categories ranging from dairy to livestock, including swine, sheep, and beef cattle.

Kirsten Dubbs, Penn State Extension 4-H animal science specialist, said in a press release that participants learn about animal conformation and breed standards through these events. She noted that the contests also foster public speaking and critical thinking skills, as youth must justify their animal placings to officials.

She praised the dedication of 4-H volunteers who mentor and coach the participants.

“Our dedicated 4-H volunteers make learning about these contests and competing possible for the youth,” said Dubbs in the release. “Volunteers spend a great deal of time mentoring, coaching, helping youth to learn the ropes and helping them to develop knowledge and skills.”

Some of the contests also provided an opportunity for senior participants, aged 14-18, to qualify for various national competitions.

Lebanon County youth took top honors in several categories.

Ainsley Sellers of Lebanon County won first place in the senior individual dairy judging.

Ainsley Sellers of Lebanon County won first place in the senior individual dairy judging. (Provided photo)

The senior team from Lebanon County, including Rachel Bohr, Madeline Ingraham, Mikayla Metzger, and Ciera Wolff, clinched first place in horse judging, as did the junior team, consisting of Meg Ingraham, Sabine Kirby, Sophia Kretzing, and Hailey Metzger. Kretzing also topped the junior individual horse judging.

Sophia Kretzing of Lebanon County won first place in the junior individual horse judging. (Provided photo)

Other winners included Evan Espenshade, Alexa Hoffman, Madelynn Hoffman, and A.J. Wanner, of Lancaster County, who took first place in the senior dairy team category. The junior team award went to Brooke King, Grant Yoder, and Landon Yoder, of Mifflin County, with King also snagging the junior individual award in dairy.

The livestock judging saw Justin Whitsel from Huntingdon County leading the pack, winning the individual category, and being part of the winning senior team alongside Lauren Houck, Evangeline McGargle, and Samson McGargle. The junior team from Lancaster County took first place in this category represented by Emily Bollinger, Olivia Leed, and Amber Musser. Lebanon County’s Mesa Brown earned top honors in the junior individual livestock judging category.

Mesa Brown of Lebanon County won first place in the junior individual livestock judging. (Provided photo)
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