Showcasing the stars of tomorrow’s agriculture industry |

Showcasing the stars of tomorrow’s agriculture industry

Feb. 1 was geared toward next generation of agriculturalists at the Black Hills Stock Show and Rodeo (BHSS). Hundreds of youth between the ages of eight and 19 converged on the Central States Fairgrounds to compete in a variety of free livestock, horse, dog and cooking events, vying for prizes and experience.

"Everything we expose the kids to at the textbook level results in knowledge they will utilize to reach their future goals. These competitions provide exposure and a test of knowledge for 4-H and FFA kids prior to their state contests, as well as for any youth not involved in 4-H or FFA who want to test their knowledge," explained Pennington County 4-H Youth Advisor Tiffany Meyer of the value of participating in BHSS youth day activities.

The livestock judging contest proved most popular this year, with 155 kids competing. Hippology saw 80 participants and the Horse Bowl welcomed 66 young people. The beef cook off contest included 14 competitors, and 25 youth showed in the four different classes offered in the dog show.

"We keep it free every year and offer prizes thanks to our sponsors. The collaboration between the western South Dakota 4-H and FFA advisors, the BHSS, our sponsors and a variety of other volunteers is what makes it such a success each year for the kids. We have a lot of support to make it a quality event for all who participate," explained Meyer.

The participants themselves also enjoy the ability to compete in any two events of their choice.

"The kids love it. It gives them something to attend each year at the BHSS. You will see the happiness and tears as they try their hardest. At the end of the day they are all very fulfilled and thrilled with how they do," said Meyer.

Recommended Stories For You

Meet the competitors

Horse Bowl: The Horse Bowl contest provides an opportunity for youth enrolled in 4-H horse projects to demonstrate their knowledge of equine-related subject matter in a competitive setting where attitudes of friendliness and fairness prevail. The contest provides an educational experience for both participants and spectators. Questions are asked about the equine industry using a buzzer system, and participants answer when directed by the moderator. This year the contest was a single elimination competition with 16 teams competing.

Name: Caleb Johnson

Age: 11

From: Chippewa County, Minn.

Favorite part of competing in Horse Bowl and 4-H? "Learning more about horses is fun. In 4-H you get to hang out with friends and do a lot of fun stuff within your 4-H club."

What is the hardest part of the contest? "The hardest part is probably learning everything. There are some pretty difficult questions you can be asked. Some disease questions like Strangles, Tetanus or Encephalomyelitis – those are some of the tougher ones."

How long have you been competing in Horse Bowl? "Since I was old enough to do it."

What are the future benefits of competing in this event? "This is important stuff to know in general. If you become a vet it definitely help you, but I don't want to be a vet."

What do you like about coming to the BHSS to compete? "Hanging out with friends and having fun. But I wish it was 50 degrees like last year!"

Hippology: Hippology allows 4-H members to exhibit their knowledge and understanding of horse science and husbandry in a friendly but competitive setting. The contest includes four phases: Written test, station identification, judging, team problems.

Name: Madison Beaver

From: Gillette, Wyo.

Age: 17

Favorite part of competing in Hippology? "Probably the multiple choice (written test) portion. But, the team problem solving was also interesting because you had to be creative and imaginative about it. One question was if you run a boarding facility and went through the bad October storm, how would you deal with it to keep your business together and good relationships with your boarders."

What was the hardest part of the contest? "Station identification. One pamphlet was about horse teeth, and you had to pick which teeth went with which age of horse. Another was on the parts of the mare's reproductive system."

How long have you been competing in Hippology? "This was my first time."

What are the future benefits of competing in this event? "I want to show, train and board horses as a job, and anything I learn here and in 4-H will help me in that process. Through 4-H I am more focused on the agriculture opportunities, and it has judging for very animal, plus you can learn to show any animal you want, and it's fun to meet friends. I also think kids in 4-H kids tend to be more mature, and it helps you figure out what parts of the agriculture world you like."

What do you like about competing at the BHSS? "This tested what I know, and helped me see what I need to work on."

Livestock Judging: Livestock judging allows competitors to exhibit their knowledge of livestock phenotype in addition to providing oral reasons defending their decisions. Competitors judged two classes of beef cattle, one class of lambs and two classes of hogs at this year's event.

Name: Carson Wionot

From: Mitchell, Neb.

Age: 13

Favorite part of competing in livestock judging? "Seeing how you do and if you can match with the real judges. Hogs are my favorite animal to judge because they were the first animal I showed and I just like them a lot."

What is the hardest part of livestock judging? "Lambs are probably hardest because I don't show them and they're harder to pick out."

How long have you been competing in livestock judging? "This is my first year. My dad was an agriculture judger and I just like animals and thought it would be fun to do something new."

What are the future benefits of competing in this event? "I'm in 4-H and raise animals, and this will give me a better perspective on how I raise my animals. It will also help me to look and see how animals are made. I also think being involved in agriculture gives you a better perspective on how food is brought to you and how everything works in the world."