Students compete in livestock show

By Megan Wimpy

Nearly 40 UK students came to the frosted countryside of Versailles, Ky., to showcase beef and dairy cows, sheep, and pigs at Saturday’s Little North American Livestock Show.

UK’s Block and Bridle Club, the event’s sponsor, had more than 50 active members attend and 21 pledges participate.

About 75 family members and club alumni came out to watch the show, which is in its 30th year. The event brings out the competitiveness of the members, and alumni come back to be a part of it, said club president Sara Evans.

In September, pledges began working with untouched animals that they were required to show Saturday morning, said Evans, an animal science senior. Each pledge halter-trained an animal by teaching it to walk in a circle, washing it and spending time with it each week.

“There is a big-time dedication to join Block and Bridle,” Evans said. “I enjoy seeing the pledges learn about livestock and making lifelong friendships.”

Active members of the organization train the pledges on handling and judging tips, along with general knowledge about the animals.

At the show, pledges and other participants circled their animals in an orderly fashion around the outdoor arena while judges graded them on how well they led their animals and maintained eye contact with the judge. Some judges asked questions on bone structure and age.

Judges selected winners for each animal in a pledges division and an active members division. After the winners were chosen, they participated in a round-robin competition where they had to show all four species.

The grand champion in the pledge division was Celeste Laurent, an agricultural education freshman. In the active member division, the winner was Jaclyn Farris, an agricultural biotechnology sophomore.

Judges also presented herdsman awards to individuals displaying the most dedication and care for their animals.

“This club has given me experiences I would have never had with other types of livestock,” said active member Curtis Coombs, an animal science sophomore. “It is a great way to meet people with a common interest.”

The Little North American Livestock Show offers members and pledges an opportunity to showcase their livestock skills while practicing leadership, responsibility and teamwork, said Debra Aaron, club adviser and professor of beef-cattle genetics and statistics at UK.

“It is fun to watch students with little to no livestock experience learn about their animal and take part in this event,” Aaron said.