A team of 4-H members from Marion County qualified to compete at a national livestock judging contest by placing fourth at the Kansas Livestock Sweepstakes Aug. 25-26 in Manhattan.
Participating in the Sweepstakes were Lauren Geis, Nicholas Meyer, Karl Riffel, Bryce Roberts. Micayla Stika, Ethan Oborney and Lisa Geis.
About eight classes of livestock were judged and placed by participants. Students were divided into groups that rotated through each class of four animals. Students placed the livestock in the class 1 through 4, and took notes to later present four sets of oral reasons to officials.
Lauren Geis finished as the top individual, outscoring 184 other contestants based on a combined score from the four divisions: sheep, cattle, swine and oral reasons. She placed first in sheep, second in cattle, 19th in swine and fourth in oral reasons.
Geis and teammates Meyer, Riffel and Roberts placed fourth overall as a team behind teams from Wallace, River Valley and Russell; 43 teams competed.
Individually, Roberts placed 27th overall, Meyer 28th and Riffel 40th. The Marion County team placed first in sheep, fifth in cattle, sixth in swine and fifth in oral reasons/
The team can now compete Jan. 12 at the National Western Invitational 4-H and FFA Livestock and Meats Judging Contest in Denver, Colo.
At the Kansas contest, livestock judging was only one of four contests. The other contests involved meats judging, a skillathon and quiz bowl.
The team of Meyer, Riffel, Stika and Oborney placed fourth in skillathon, but only the top three teams could advance to nationals. Meyer placed sixth individually, Riffel 12th, Stika 61st and Oborney 63rd among 107 competitors.
Marion County lost in the quarterfinals in the quiz bowl competition and did not compete in the meats contest.
Rickey Roberts, agriculture extension agent for Marion County, accompanied the team.