LaSalle County 4-H has announced North Stars 4-H Club member Clay Sundberg, along with his fellow teammates, has secured the win for Illinois in the 4-H Livestock Judging National Championship.
Sundberg shared his experience, stating “Having the opportunity to be a part of the Illinois State 4-H Livestock Judging Team has been an honor. I enjoyed getting to know the other members of the team (Jenna, Nicole, Mason and Jake), along with our coach, Gracia. Getting to travel to Scotland with them is very exciting. I would like to thank my local 4-H livestock judging coaches, Sharon Reel and Scott Freebairn, for pushing me over the years to do my best along with the support that has been provided by the LaSalle County Extension Service, LaSalle County Stockman’s Association and LaSalle County Cattleman Association that has allowed local teams to attend contests.”
Never since its inception in 1919, has the National 4-H Livestock Judging Contest ended in a tie; that is, until this year. The 4-H teams from Illinois and Virginia were even at the end of competition. Illinois was named the national champion based on its higher reasons score.
In addition to the team championship, Illinois 4-H member Mason Engnell of McDonough County was named the overall individual winner of the contest held Nov. 13 in Louisville, Ky.
Other members of the team include Clay Sundberg of LaSalle County, Jenna Wheeler of Morgan County, Nicole Haverback of Henry County and Jake Bohnsack of Rock Island County. University of Illinois graduate student Gracia Ramp coached the team to victory.
In addition to their third-place finish in the reasons division, the team placed second in swine, third in beef cattle, and seventh in sheep.
Team members took top individual honors, also, said Dan Jennings, University of Illinois Extension 4-H animal science educator. Engnell earned his overall championship by placing second in cattle, third in reasons, fourth in swine and seventh in sheep. Sundberg finished 14th overall, scoring second in swine, seventh in reasons, and 22nd in cattle. Haverback finished 18th overall, with a ninth place finish in cattle and 23rd place finish in reasons. Wheeler was 23rd overall, finishing fifth in swine and sixth in cattle.
The Illinois 4-H Foundation supports the national competition team. The national contest is the top educational contest for youth involved in livestock evaluation programs, Jennings said.