The Virginia 4-H Livestock Judging Team won first place at the National 4-H Livestock Judging Competition held during the North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, Ky., on Nov. 13. The last time Virginia's team won the contest was 1983.

Virginia’s team scored second place in sheep judging, third in beef cattle, sixth in swine evaluation, and fifth in oral reasons on the way to its win.

The four-member team was one of 33 teams participating in the competition. Team members included:

  • Kaitlyn Meadows of Buchanan, Va.
  • Brandon Reeves of Mt. Solon, Va.
  • Luke Strecker of Rockbridge Baths, Va.
  • Stephanie Willis of Mt. Solon, Va.


Mark Wahlberg, an animal scientist for Virginia Cooperative Extension, was the team coach.

“The National 4-H Livestock Judging Contest is a competition among many talented teams and individuals from throughout the United States,” Wahlberg said. “By winning this contest, this team has demonstrated its livestock evaluation skills and ability to make sound decisions and justify them proficiently to a high degree. As coach I am extremely proud of this accomplishment.”

In the individual competition, Reeves finished in the No. 3 spot, Strecker in the No. 4 spot, and Willis in the No. 8 spot. Their performance qualified them for Livestock Judging All-American recognition.

Virginia Cooperative Extension brings the resources of Virginia’s land-grant universities, Virginia Tech and Virginia State University, to the people of the commonwealth. Through a system of on-campus specialists and locally based agents, it delivers education in the areas of agriculture and natural resources, family and consumer sciences, community viability, and 4-H youth development. With a network of faculty at two universities, 107 county and city offices, 13 agricultural research and Extension centers, and six 4-H educational centers, Virginia Cooperative Extension provides solutions to the problems facing Virginians today.

PHOTO CAPTION: From left to right, Willie Hayes, donor of team award from Westway Feed Products; Luke Strecker; Brandon Reeves; Stephanie Willis; Kaitlyn Meadows; and Mark Wahlberg.