Tuesday, May 20, 2008

95 youth compete in skillathon

Ninety-five youth from six states and thirteen Maryland counties competed in the 3rd Sheep & Wool Skillathon hosted by the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival on May 4 at the Howard County Fairgrounds.

A skillathon provides youth with the opportunity to blend knowledge and skills acquired in livestock judging, demonstrations, and care and exhibition of animals into a single activity. The Sheep & Wool Skillathon consists of a series of stations where youth are tested on their knowledge and abilities related to sheep and wool.

Youth judge a class of Karakul yearling ewes (image by Larry Fisher)The top-placing junior (8-10 yrs) in this year’s skillathon was Katie Burroughs, a 9-year old from Calvert County. Katie’s Calvert County team was the first place junior team. Other team members included Becky Jones and Jocelyn and Ethan Abbott.

The top-placing intermediate (11-13 yrs) was Savannah Cook, an 11-year old from Montgomery County. The first place intermediate team was the Calvert County team composed of William Jones and Sarah and Josiah Manning.

The top-placing senior (14-18 yrs) was Rachel Manning, an 18-year old from Calvert County. Rachel’s team was also the first place senior team. Her teammates included Jamie Snider (Allegany County), Logan Charles (Charles County), and Molly Hancock (Charles County).

Jamie Snider (2nd place senior) identifies cuts of lamb (image by Larry Fisher)The Sheep & Wool Skillathon is sponsored by University of Maryland Cooperative Extension. The Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival (a committee of the Maryland Sheep Breeders Association) provides ribbons and premiums to the top 10 individuals in each age group and Festival t-shirts to the members of the top three teams in each age group.

Station sponsors included The Delmarva Farmer (wool judging), Frederick County Sheep Breeders Association (sheep judging), George Rupersberger & Sons (meat ID), Kate's Koop Farm Fresh Eggs (feed and forage ID), Premier Sheep Supplies, Ltd. (equipment ID), Sheep! Magazine (Breed ID), Sheepman Supply Company (animal health), Shepherd Magazine (written test and senior problem), and Talking Hooves Educated Hoof Care (hay judging).

City Grafx donated table numbers. Discount meal tickets were provided by Greene's Lamb and Many Rocks Farm Domestic Chevon. Many volunteers help to make the skillathon a success.

Sheep & Wool Skillathon web page