FFA livestock judges earn shot at state

Nearly 500 FFA members competed in the Livestock Judging competition held at the Chuck M. Pohlman Agriculture Complex at Northeast Community College in Norfolk, Nebraska.

Nearly 500 students participated in the District II, III, and IV FFA District Livestock Judging Contest held in January at the Chuck M. Pohlman Agriculture Complex at Northeast Community College in Norfolk, Nebraska.

A total of 488 contenders representing 43 schools traveled from Platte, Lancaster, Colfax, Cuming, Washington, Knox, Dixon, Stanton, Pierce and other counties in Nebraska. They earned honors as individuals and as teams.

The top 25% of the teams from the district contest qualified for the state competition in about nine weeks, said Michael Roeber, livestock judging instructor at NECC.

In District II, it was the team of Abigail Lutjelusche, Alex Hinze, Ella Meyer, Jaycee Schomberg and Evan Tessendorf from Columbus Lakeview in Columbus taking first place honors in the Senior Division. The team of Regan Burenheide, Tyson Coufal, Jacob Hagemen, Trevor Jedlicka, Logan Nelson, Trevor Schumacher and Britten Sindelar from Howells-Dodge in Howells earned second place.

In District III, Kaitlyn Bouska, Makenna Dirkschneider, Kendra Loseke, Luke Mathiesen, Alli Nielsen, Dalton Nielsen, Jackson O’Brien and Wyatt Wiemer of Blair took first place in the Senior Division. West Point’s Sam Chapman, Rachel Groth, Kaleb Hasenkamp, Elizabeth Karnopp, Ethan Kreikmeier, Evie Schlickbernd and Payton Schiller earned second.

In District IV, the top team was Kate Bruns, Braden Eisenhauer, Bree Eisenhauer, Brooklyn Eisenhauer, Aubrey Jeannoutot, Logan Johnson, Ella McFarland and Tyson Sauser of Bloomfeld. Second place was claimed by Connor Arens, Taylor Arens, Lauren Buschkamp, Jarrin Sage, Abby Steffen and Jaden Zimmerman of Crofton.

District II Junior Division was won by Lance Brester, Justin Bayer, Morgan Gall, Cole Grovijohn, Levi Belina, R.J. Bayer, Gavin Nelson and Blake Sindelar of Howells-Dodge; with Brayden Brabec, Jacob Eisenmann, Makenna Held, Madison Noonan, Audie Tejkl, Justine Thompson and Dalton Zulkoski of Leigh-Clarkson in Clarkson.

District III Junior winners were Cooper Colson, Lance Ditloff, Keegan Doggett, Branden Duhsmann, Cole Hutchinson, Anna Karnopp, Levi Schiller and Dylan Steffen of West Point. Second place went to Addisyn Albers, Cameryn Bellar, Jaleigh Hallsted, Emma Heller, Owen Heller, Kyle Rehak, Devon Schultz and Brittney Uhing of Wisner-Pilger in Wisner.

District IV’s first place Junior Division team was Cameron Armitage, Luke Endorf, Colton Fritz, Colby Jensen, Alex Meier, Carter Meier, Makinzie Parsons and Grant Snodgrass from Pierce. Second place was Alexis Bartling, Bree Breithaupt, Chaney Konopasek, Gabrielle Pavlik, Michaela Ravenkamp, Anna Rudloff and Andree Sucha or Verdigre.

Top Senior Division individual honors went to: Abigail Lutjelusche, Columbus Lakeview, first place District II; Elizabeth Karnopp, West Point, first place District III; and Connor Arens, Crofton, District IV.

Lutjelusche, 17, is a junior and the daughter of Luke and Merri Lutjelusche. She has been in FFA since seventh grade. This is her third consecutive year to earn top honors in District II. She won the 2019 State FFA Junior Evaluation. In her freshman year, she placed 12th in the American Royal Livestock Show.

“The most challenging part of judging is being able to understand the differences within each species,” Lutjelusche said. “Then, effectively communicating my knowledge about each one individually through reasons.”

Top Junior Division recognition went to: Levi Belina, Howells-Dodge, first place District II; Kaden Gregory, Logan View, first place District III; and Zoe Wiedeman, Stanton, first place District IV.

Gregory said he has a “true passion” for agriculture, especially livestock evaluation. He shows swine, goats and beef cattle in the summer and fall, while raising pigs and goats. He said he plans to continue to improve his skills through FFA.

Wiedeman is a sophomore and the daughter of Shawn and Kara Wiedeman. She is a second-year FFA member.

Second place finishers in the Senior Division were: District II — Isaac White, Raymond Central; District III — Logan Buhrman, Wisner-Pilger; and District IV — Dillon Borg, Allen-Wakefield. Second place in the Junior Division were: District II — Barrett Andel, David City; District III — Owen Heller, Wisner-Pilger; and District IV — Christen Curtis, Creighton.

There were about 100 faculty members, staff and students from NECC that assisted with the contest.

Jon Burleson can be reached at jon.burleson@lee.net.