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Virginia Cooperative Extension -
 Knowledge for the CommonWealth


Virginia's 4H Teams Excel in 2007 National Competitions

Livestock Update, January 2008

Dr. Mark L. Wahlberg, Extension Animal Scientist, VA Tech

Virginia's best 4H livestock members have competed in 4 different national level competitions this year, and excelled in every one of them  The livestock judging team has won two major contests this fall.  The state-winning meats judging team had a sixth place finish in their national contest.  And the state-winning stockmens contest team, while finishing sixth in their national event, had the first-place individual in the entire contest.  In the enclosed table can be seen the details of the competitions. 

Will Copenhaver took first place in the national Skillathon Contest, an event where Virginia's first-place Stockmens Contest team competes each year.  In this comprehensive test of knowledge across the spectrum of livestock species and topics, Will outscored every other contestant from across the country.  To go with that, his teammates Brad Copenhaver and Samantha Gregory also finished in the top ten.  Virginia's team won the Identification category, and was 6th place overall.  This team, composed of Washington County 4H members, was trained by Extension Agents Phil Blevins and Crystal Peek.

The meats judging team represented Virginia very solidly in their national event.  This Augusta County team had previously won the state contest, held in March in Blacksburg.  At their national contest in Manhattan Kansas they stood their ground against the likes of Colorado, Illinois, and Texas to take sixth place out of the 15 teams competing.  Team member Jessica Liskey stood tall in the judging and reasons category by finishing in the top 10 in every species, and 11th place overall.  Danielle McPherson was 9th in retail cut identification.  As a team Virginia was 4th in retail cut judging, and 3rd in oral reasons on their way to a sixth place overall finish.  The team is coached by volunteer leader Eric Stogdale.

The livestock judging teams representing Virginia had a superb season, winning both major contests in which they competed.  At the American Royal in Kansas City, the Augusta County team beat them all.  From among the 19 teams competing Virginia took 4th in sheep, second in oral reasons, and first place in both swine judging and beef judging to win the contest by 12 points.  Brandon Reeves won the sheep and oral reasons category, in addition to finishing 3rd in cattle to finish in first place overall.  Stephanie Willis won the swine division , was second in cattle, and 4th place overall.  Laura Kate Reeves was the second place winner in swine judging.  Eric Stogdale and Shirley Kaufman trained this winning team.

At the National 4H Livestock Judging Contest, there were 33 teams and 129 contestants.  And once again, Virginia's team took the first place award.  Brandon Reeves and Stephanie Willis were joined by Luke Strecker and Kaitlyn Meadows, who competed for Rockbridge County in the state contest in June.  Virginia's team took second in sheep judging, 3rd in beef, fifth in oral reasons, and 6th in swine judging to compile their winning margin of 22 points.  Brandon and Luke were the 3rd and 4th place individuals overall, and Stephanie was 8th.  This qualified them to be awarded 4H Livestock Judging All-American recognition.  In addition, Stephanie took second place in sheep judging and Luke was 7th in cattle judging.  Brandon was 11th in 2 different categories.  This team was coached by Dr. Mark Wahlberg, Extension Animal Scientist.

This outstanding performance in 4 different national competitions is truly exceptional.  It is rare to have a first-place finish in any national competition, and Virginia had two first place team finishes, and also two first-place individuals.  Virginia's best in the 4H livestock program have gone head-to-head with those from the other states, and proven that they are among the best in the entire nation.  Virginia's 4H livestock program provides many opportunities for youth to learn about beef cattle, sheep, swine, and the red meats derived from these species.  Volunteer leaders and Extension Agents lead the local programs.  The comprehensive educational opportunities available for young people to learn are coupled with events in which they can demonstrate their knowledge in competition with their peers from around the state.  Finally, the winning teams and individuals in the state events are given the opportunity to represent Virginia in the various national competitions.  Specialists from Virginia Tech, particularly from the Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences, lead the state level events and guide the overall educational program.

Competition Name



VA Team Coach

Team Members

Number of Teams in Competition

VA Team Rank Overall

Individual Rankings Overall

American Royal 4-H & FFA Livestock Judging Contest


Kansas City, MO

Eric Stogdale
Shirley Kaufman

Brandon Reeves




Stephanie Willis


Danielle McPherson


Laura Kate Reeves


2007 National 4-H Meats Judging Contest


Manhattan, KS

Eric Stogdale

Jessica Liskey




Danielle McPherson


Brad Bennett


Brendan Martin


NAILE National 4-H Skillathon Contest


Louisville, KY

Phil Blevins Crystal Peek

Brad Copenhaver




Will Copenhaver


Samantha Gregory


Garrett Cook


NAILE National 4-H Livestock Judging


Louisville, KY

Mark Wahlberg

Brandon Reeves




Stephanie Willis


Kaitlyn Meadows


Luke Strecker



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