By Makenna Morgan
FFA Chapter Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY – Newkirk was one of the 10 teams from across the state of Oklahoma that competed in the 2021 American Farmers & Ranchers Livestock Handling Scholarship Contest, held at the Oklahoma National Stockyards in Oklahoma City Dec. 17, 2021.
This year’s team members were Allison Schneeberger, Justin Fast and Kyson Thiel. Ethan Vap and Payton St. Andrews were alternates for this event.
The event is sponsored by American Farmers & Ranchers/Oklahoma Farmers Union (AFR/OFU). The annual competition showcases the skills of young 4-H and FFA members in practical, real-life cattle handling scenarios, such as weighing for accurate dosage, vaccinating and tagging calves in a squeeze chute. Contestants are judged on skill, accuracy and efficiency as they process the animals.
In order to qualify for the state contest, Newkirk team members traveled to Enid, Okla. on Oct. 21 where they took a written test related to the beef cattle industry. Topics covered included bull, cow and calf management, vaccinations, shot administration, the estrous cycle of cattle and pasture management. The team members’ scores are added together and the top two teams from each area move on to compete at the state level. This year, there were 32 teams from across Oklahoma that participated in the qualifying event. Newkirk’s team had the highest test scores in the Northwest Area and tied for second overall for their test scores.
This year’s state contest was held at the Oklahoma National Stockyards. Each team was tasked with working two head of cattle. During the finals of the event, students were asked to operate a manual squeeze chute, identify the weight and gender of the animal, administer medication, including vaccinations and oral dewormer, correctly place a tag and implant in the animal’s ear and do an overall wellness check of the animal.
Following lunch at Heather’s Café in the Stockyards was the awards presentation, and Newkirk’s team won multiple awards. The team was recognized second place overall for the livestock handling portion of the competition out of 10 teams. Newkirk’s team was also selected as the second overall team in the state. The overall score use the team’s test scores as well as their scores for the livestock handling portion of the competition.
The team would like to thank Jason Schneeberger, Kurt Fast, David Horinek, Tanner Horinek, Dean Kirchner, Buffalo Feeders, LLC and Tom Fanning for helping make this event so successful. They provided guidance and practice opportunities for the team members, and it would not have been possible without them.