WILMINGTON — More than 1,200 high school students from throughout Ohio and neighboring states are expected to hone their skills at agronomy and judging equine, dairy and general livestock Wednesday, March 7 at the Wilmington College Aggies’ 60th annual Livestock Judging Contest.
This year’s event will be held at the Champion Expo Center, 4122 Laybourne Road, Springfield, with judging from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Billed as the largest competition of its kind east of the Mississippi, WC’s Livestock Judging Contest is one of the most enduring and popular such attractions in the country and typically is among the first judging competitions of the year.
The contest represents real life application and a hands-on learning experience for both the high school students and WC’s agriculture students that stage the event.
Harold Thirey, Aggies’ adviser and assistant professor of agriculture, said annually attracting more than 1,000 high school students to a Wilmington College activity is the result of building credibility over the years and becoming recognized for staging a high quality event.
“The Livestock Judging Contest is well known by high school teachers, advisers and students involved in 4-H, vocational agriculture and Future Farmers of America,” he said.
Lucas Fledderman, a senior majoring in agriculture from Brookville, Ind., who is handling public relations for the Aggies, admitted that, considering the “history and tradition” of the competition, the Aggies have a lot to live up to, as students pretty much run the show. They secure the livestock and judges, as well as publicize and handle a myriad of logistics for the event.
“It’s a great learning opportunity for both the high school students, who are sharpening their judging skills — and for us,” he said. “When you come to Wilmington College, you expect to learn in the classroom and out at the farm, but putting on an event for 1,300-plus students takes hands-on learning to another level.”
Fledderman said the contest also is an opportunity for the Aggies to give back to the agriculture community by staging an educational event for high school students. Also, it’s a chance for the young competitors to “see what we’re all about” at Wilmington College.
“I want those students to leave the contest feeling that agriculture students at WC receive opportunities for both hands-on learning and community involvement, and that we want to be involved in something larger than ourselves.
“Hopefully, some of them will leave feeling that they can see themselves studying agriculture at Wilmington College.”
Wilmington College’s Bachelor of Science in Agriculture degree program features concentrations in agricultural business, agronomy, animal science, equine business management, agricultural communications and agricultural education.
This fall, WC will start a new concentration in food policy and agriculture advocacy.
Also, the College offers minors in equine studies and sustainability.