By Haley Schmersal
Every year, collegiate teams travel around the United States to judge dairy cattle. Students spend hours studying and preparing for some of the most well-known dairy shows in the country, including students from Ohio State ATI.
The 2021 Ohio State ATI Intercollegiate Dairy Judging Team just completed their very successful judging season. The team, consisting of Hayley Bankey, Stephen Parthemore, Megan Raudebaugh, Rachel Sherman, Rebecca Sprang, and Marissa Topp, competed in four different contests. These contests included the Pennsylvania All-American Dairy Show, the North American International Livestock Exposition (NAILE), and two contests at the World Dairy Exposition.
Dairy judging teams receive several scores following a contest. These include their overall team placing, their team placing in oral reasons, their team placing in specific breed classes, and placings of individuals on the team. The team placed third overall at the Pennsylvania All-American, second overall at NAILE, and second overall in the traditional contest at the World Dairy Expo.
Due to their high placing at the World Dairy Expo, the team has been invited to participate with the International Dairy Cattle Judging Tour this summer. This trip to Europe includes competing at both the Royal Highland Show held in Scotland and the Clonmel Agricultural Show in Ireland, a once in a lifetime experience for many students.
“In 1974, I made a trip over to Europe to judge just like the students are doing,” said Royce Thornton, the dairy judging team coach. “I don’t know if there’s very many people that can say they went as a student and then as a coach.”
Thornton is a faculty member at Ohio State ATI, where he serves as the dairy cattle program coordinator. He has also served as the dairy judging team coach since he joined the university in 1983. He knows how valuable these experiences are from both an academic and character-building standpoint.
Without the generous support of donors, the Ohio State ATI Intercollegiate Dairy Judging Team would not be possible. All donated funds go directly to travel expenses associated with the contests. If you are interested in supporting the team’s participation in the International Dairy Cattle Judging Tour, please visit give.osu.edu/ATIDairy2021