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4-H youth showcase agricultural excellence at national competition

Team members pose with ribbons.

Louisville, Ky. — 4-H youth headed to the North American International Livestock Exposition to compete in educational contests held as a part of the exposition held Nov. 2-16 in Louisville.

The expo drew more than 27,000 livestock entries from across the U.S. and hosted seven major youth judging contests as a part of the larger event.      

“The value of the 4-H animal knowledge contests hosted by the North American goes well beyond any ribbons and trophies earned,” says University of Illinois Extension specialist Deb Hagstrom. “Participating 4-Hers put into practice important life skills such as teamwork, critical thinking, stress management, perseverance, and public speaking. Developing these skills is where the real worth of these national contest experiences is found.”

The Illinois 4-H Horse Bowl team of Hannah Wenzel of Saline County, Maya Woodard of Monroe County, Sydney Woodard of Monroe County, Annsley Healy of White County, and Eliza Engelhardt of Marion County competed.

The Horse Bowl Team took 4th place out of 15 teams.

The Illinois 4-H Horse Judging Team of Talisa Thomas of Whiteside County, Madelyn Mohr of Monroe County, Madalyn Schierloh of Stephenson County, and Talia Pierard of McLean County placed 5th overall, 5th in the conformation division, 5th in reasons, and 6th in the performance division.

Individual highlights included Talia Pierard of McLean County placing 9th place in the Conformation division and tied for 6th in reasons. Talisa Thomas of Whiteside County placed

Team members are chosen as part of the Illinois State Fair livestock events. The Illinois 4-H Foundation provides support for this program.   

About Illinois 4-H: Illinois 4-H is the flagship youth development program of University of Illinois Extension and administered through the College of Agriculture, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences. 4-H grows true leaders, youth who are empowered for life today and prepared for a career tomorrow. The hands-on approach in 4-H gives young people guidance, tools, and encouragement, and then puts them in the driver’s seat to make great things happen. Independent research confirms the unparalleled impact of the 4-H experience, demonstrating that young people are four times more likely to contribute to their communities; two times more likely to make healthier choices; two times more likely to be civically active; and two times more likely to participate in STEM programs. 

Source: Deb Hagstrom, Extension Specialist, Equine,

Writer:  Carissa Nelson, Media Communications Manager, 4-H State Office,

About Extension

Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities. Illinois Extension is part of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.