From Left, Coach Mike McConnell and team members Jess Oldham, Colby Voxland, Alicia Espinosa, and Mark McConnell. Photo provided.

(Lander, Wyo.) – The Lander Valley High School FFA Livestock Judging team earlier this month was name Second in the nation, and the Fremont County School District 1 Board of Education recognized their achievement during this week’s board meeting.

The earned Reserve Grand Champion Award at the National Western Stock Show in Denver.

The team members are Jess Oldham, Colby Voxland, Alicia Espinosa, and Mark McConnell; they are coached by Lander FFA Advisor Mr. Mike McConnell.

Jess Oldham had the 5th highest overall score from all the individuals in the competition. The team was bested by a team from Indiana. Their second place finish qualifies them an international competition this summer in Scotland.

“The contest was held in Denver, Colorado and more than 900 youth from more than 35 states along with Alberta, Canada attended the Western National Roundup January 8-12, 2014,” McConnell reported. “The contest includes placing 10 classes of livestock (goats, swine, sheep, beef), and then preparing six impromptu speeches explaining why they placed a class in their particular order; then they deliver the speech to score keepers, in hopes of earning up to 50 points. Truly the contest is aimed at leaving participants with the confidence that they have the opportunity to create unique experiences and thrive in their self-defined future through FFA and 4-H. Youth participants develop a mastery of their respective subject matters while competing, but more importantly, gain life-long skills. Such skills as public speaking, professionalism, and good sportsmanship, along with the memories and new friendships that will outlast the trophies and ribbons that were won.”

Below, photo of the team at Tuesday night’s school board meeting by Joshua Scheer.

judge winners