New Marion County 4-H horse judging team off to a strong start

It’s easy for Rickey Roberts, Marion County extension agent, to get excited about potential when he sees Jamie Peters, whom he acknowledges as a “world class” horse judge, working with the new Marion County 4-H Horse Judging Team.

The team already is doing well since Peters began coaching it in November with senior members Brandon West, Jessica West and Cody Pankratz placing in the top 20, and junior member Lauren Geis placing fifth among 74 kids at Equifest of Kansas held recently in the Kansas Colliseum near Wichita.

Peters said she began judging at horse contests herself when she was only 8 years old, “doing the same thing these kids are at county and state contests,” and moving on to win world-class competition- which is one reason she is enthused for the Marion County kids’ beginning.

She was fortunate in having as a judging tutor her own father, John Wolf, equine instructor at Black Hawk College in Kewanee, Ill. Her grandfather, Robert Wolf, Polo, Ill., who died last summer, carried on an earlier family tradition showing and judging horses at shows as well as being a cattleman and law enforcement officer.

Peters came to Kansas to attend Kansas State University because her sister, Julie Voge, now a youth extension specialist who was in charge of Equifest judging, was getting an master’s degree while juding there.

Jamie married Marion County native Ryan Peters after the two met at K-State. They settled near Hillsboro 12 years ago on the farmstead where the livestock includes about a dozen Quarter Horses.

When she came to Marion County, Jamie was approached by kids from Harvey County who knew her background, and asked her to coach them. She did so for three years.

The Harvey County team won Equifest and state contests, and went on to the Western National at Denver where they were “really successful.”

Peters said she is pleased that all the Harvey County team members are still involved in horse judging with two at Colby, one at Northeastern Oklahoma and two at K-State.

She added that she didn’t want this story to be about her because “it’s the kids here I’ve really been impressed with.”

She wanted to work closer to home in Marion County, and she’s feeling the kids are meeting her wish.

Besides the new team members mentioned, the Marion County team also includes Ranell Schroeder, Frankie Stevenson, Kate Schroeder, Bryce Roberts and Cara Martin.

Peters said, “For kids who have only been with it a couple of months, I’m really proud of them. They’re dedicated, and they’ve really worked hard.”

Roberts said, “I see good things coming from this. You know I like judging teams of all types. They’re good for the kids, and good for the people. We’re going to start more of them.

“You know 4-H always is dependent on the adult volunteers it gets, but they can’t do anything if the kids aren’t willing to do it. These kids are working individuals.

“We’re really fortunate to have Jamie, and she’s already doing a great job working with the kids. They’re dedicated.

“If they keep working hard like this, I think we have a chance to place in something soon, maybe at state in June.

“They aren’t there yet, but then, this team is a first for Marion County.”

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