2012 Bison Judging Contest tests students’ knowledge

Students attending the National Western Stock Show in Denver on Jan. 18 will have an opportunity to test their bison knowledge – and to compete for college scholarship money – at the fourth annual National Bison Association’s Junior Judging Contest.

Contestants in the competition will judge four to five classes of bison that will be selected by the National Western Stock Show Bison Superintendent. Points will be awarded based upon the contestant’s ability to evaluate the classes. Additional points will be awarded to each participant’s Oral Reasons presentation.

The first place contestant will receive a $1,000 scholarship donated by the National Buffalo Foundation. Rocky Mountain Natural Meats has donated $500 for a scholarship to the second-place contestant, and the National Bison Association will offer $250 for a scholarship to the third-place contestant.

The competition is open to students from ages 8-21, and registration for the competition is simple and free. Participants not accompanied by their parents will need to bring with them a letter from their parent, FFA advisor, or 4-H leader stating that the participant is academically eligible (passing all classes).

Gerald Parson of Oklahoma, who will serve as the primary judge for the contest, noted, “With the growing popularity of bison, customers are looking for top-quality meat. Successful producers become skilled at being able to judge quality by looking at the live animal. Those are the skills we want to instill in our Junior Judging contest.”

Parson added, “This program is already paying dividends for the bison business. One of the participants from a previous year is now serving as a judge at a regional bison association’s junior judging competition.”

Students may obtain more information on the contest, and can register to participate, by contacting National Bison Association Assistant Director Jim Matheson at

The Junior Judging contest is being conducted in conjunction with the annual National Bison Association Gold Trophy Show and Sale, which runs Jan. 18-21 in the Yards at the National Western Stock Show. Learn more at

– National Bison Association