Crowds gather around livestock pins at the Champion Center at the Clark County Fairground for the Wilmington College Livestock Judging Wednesday. Chuck Hamlin/Staff Chuck Hamlin
Photo: Chuck Hamlin
Photo: Chuck Hamlin

More than 1K students fill Springfield expo center for major contest

More than 1,000 students filled the Champions Expo Center in Clark County on Wednesday for one of the region’s major livestock judging contests.

Wilmington College hosted its 60th annual Livestock Judging Contest in Springfield in partnership with the national Future Farmers of America. Wilmington President Lucas Fledderman said the competition also serves as one of the college’s largest recruiting events.

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Attendance for the event dipped slightly last year with only 1,100 attending, Fledderman said, but expected turnout looked better for 2018.

“This year we’re looking at between 1,300 to 1,500 students,” he said.

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Students participating in the event had the opportunity to judge four different categories: general livestock, equine, argonomy and dairy. It also provided different learning opportunities through onsite tests and quizzes about judging and general farm knowledge.

The contest allows students to use their knowledge firsthand, Fledderman said, and gain more experience so they know what to look for when they start their own farms.

“It’s not just learning in the classroom and looking,” he said. “It gives you a little background so you know what you’re looking for.”

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Students around the region look forward to the event, which also serves as a tourist attraction and one of the first judging competitions of the spring season in the region.

Brighton Morris, a junior at Blanchester High School and a second-year attendee, said it’s one of her favorite events of the year.

“It’s a good way to meet new people and definitely get out and test your knowledge on something,” she said. “You grow as a person and as an FFA member in general.”