Skip to main content

Illinois 4-H Livestock Judging Team places seventh in the nation

4-H livestock award winners

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The Illinois State 4-H Livestock Judging Team took seventh in the nation at the National 4-H Livestock Judging Contest. This contest is held in conjunction with the North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, Ky.  

The Illinois 4-H livestock judging program teaches youth to identify breeds of livestock and helps them make decisions which improve their local herds. This national competition serves as a culminating event that represents months of prep by the team and coaches.

"The Illinois State 4-H Team spent every weekend during the fall practicing and preparing for the national contest,” says Jenna Girman, team coach and University of Illinois Extension state 4-H program coordinator. “Countless hours were travelled to visit livestock operations and learn the value of raising and selecting quality show stock. It is a big commitment for team members to be willing to sacrifice their free time in order to improve their skills and practice consistently."

Team members included Tyler Lee of Winnebago County, Paige Lemenager of McLean County, Preston Rhode of McLean County, Morgan Richardson of Boone County, and Weston Tharp of Jasper County.

National competition opportunities help youth gain experiences outside of their local county and help them build skills that will last a lifetime.

"The National 4-H Livestock Judging Contest instills a competitive nature in participants,” says Girman. “And it also exercises soft skills such as decision making, critical thinking, and public speaking that are necessary when 4-H youth join the work force."

The Illinois 4-H Foundation provided support for this program. To learn more about livestock judging opportunities, contact your local Extension office.

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. 

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. 

Source: Jenna Girman, State 4-H Program Coordinator,

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