Rock County Extension Service summer intern Gabryelle Gilliam helped organize an event for this year’s fair called “Mark That Card,” which allows the public to compare the judge’s placings in four different species, including beef. The contest starts Thursday, July 27.

You Be the Judge!

The public can match skills with 4-H'ers, livestock judges during Rock County Fair

Fair-goers can compare judging skills alongside Rock County 4-H’ers next week as the general livestock team practices for the upcoming Minnesota State Fair competition.

Today, Thursday, July 27, and Friday, July 28, prior to the swine, sheep, goat and beef shows, participants can view the designated species and mark their judge’s cards prior to the class of animals entering the ring.

Those who match the judge’s selection of the top four animals in order of preference could earn a prize.

Prizes for the public are awarded after each show.

Winning 4-H’ers, who judge all four species, are announced at the Parade of Champions on Saturday, July 29.

The idea behind the “Mark That Card” event came from Gabryelle Gilliam, Rock County Extension Service’s summer intern.

The event has two purposes, she said.

“How do we get people to come to the shows and how do we let the public know a lot more happens behind the scenes?” she said.

Gilliam along with local 4-H program coordinator Chelsey Asche and general livestock coach Stacy Mente were also brainstorming about how to arrange for more general livestock team practices.

“We all agree that livestock judging builds critical thinking and public speaking skills for youth,” Asche said. “We wanted to find a way to get more of our Rock County Youth excited about judging.”

Opening the contest to everyone promotes learning about livestock and an understanding of 4-H livestock judging.

Once all 4-H animals are at the fairgrounds Wednesday night, four animals in each species will be chosen for the judging event and their stalls marked. All animals appear in the same judging class.

Because more than four animals may be in the same class, final results would be the order that the judge places the animals, minus the ones not in the contest, Gilliam said.

Participants rank the designated animals 1 through 4 with 1 being the top animal, she said.

To be eligible for the contest judging cards are turned in prior to the start of each classes.

The 8 a.m. Thursday, July 27, swine show is the first event class followed by the goat show at 2 p.m. and sheep at 3:30 p.m.

Friday’s 8 a.m. beef show ends the “Mark That Card” judging contest.

Judging cards are located outside each of the livestock barns.

Gilliam began her internship with Rock County 4-H in May.

The Washington, Kansas, native will be a junior at Kansas State University. She recently added agricultural education to her animal science and industry major.

“I wanted to try it to know if I wanted to make it my major,” Gilliam said.

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