Ag. competition gives students farm experience

Lauren Stockwell and her team members drew blood from sheep, took the rectal temperatures of cows and analyzed freshly laid eggs over the weekend as part of the club’s annual Quadrathlon.

Her group was participating in the four-part competition that tests Block and Bridle members in all areas of animal science. Block and Bridle is a club in the College of Agriculture that gives students an opportunity to work with animal agriculture issues in more depth than they do in their classes.

Groups of four students gave presentations Friday on current issues in agriculture and took a written exam over topics ranging from nutrition to reproduction in a variety of different species of animals.

Teams were also required to complete practical tests at several local UK farms on Saturday. Participants had to saddle a horse, judge chickens and perform other tasks that showed how well they could handle animals in a typical farm situation.

The final part of the competition was a quiz bowl where the teams competed against each other answering animal science questions.

“This event is a great opportunity for teams to test their animal science knowledge in a far less stressful setting than the classroom,” said Stockwell, an animal science senior who organized the event. “It also is a great networking opportunity. Judges are professionals in their industry, and they are free to answer any questions the students may have.”

This was Stockwell’s first year organizing the competition, though she has participated in the event on a team for the previous three years. Last year, her team won the UK event and went on to win third place at the regional competition held at Auburn University in Alabama.

Around 40 members of the Block and Bridle Club were involved in the events. Those who were not part of one of the four teams helped run the competition by grading tests, taking pictures for the club scrapbook and keeping time.

The sheep practical was Carrie Tilghman’s favorite part of the competition, she said. Tilghman, an agricultural education sophomore, had to find the jugular vein among a sheep’s wooly neck and draw blood with a syringe.

This year’s competition was the first for Tilghman, and she thought it was a good educational experience.

“The hands-on activities helped me to learn about species that I have not been around a lot,” Tilghman said. “This competition lets you use the things that you learn in the classroom in real-life situations.”

The winning team was announced Saturday and will go on to compete at the regional competition, which will be at Texas A&M University this year.