Taylorville FFA members earn National Livestock Awards in and out of the show ring
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Three Taylorville FFA students including junior Cole Paulek, junior Drew Mickey, and senior Lizzie Schafer exhibited swine at the 2021 Team Purebred Summer Type Conference at the Illinois State Fairgrounds on June 23 and 24. In addition to the show, all three competed in showmanship, the swine issues public speaking contest, the written skil- lathon test, and livestock judging.
“These students continually push to better themselves and expand their knowledge,” said co-advi- sor Lori Parks. “Their dedication to their animals is extremely impressive.”
Throughout the summer, the students worked hard on training, feeding, brushing, washing, and taking care of their show pigs in preparation for county, state, and national shows. As a result of dedication, Mickey’s Landrace
barrow earned fourth overall within his respective breed and all three members successfully competed in the showmanship competition.
“Every day I walked my barrow around the yard for 15 minutes,” Mickey said. “I always made sure that he was properly taken care of and I cleaned his pen frequently. It is a lot of work to take care of livestock, but it is worth every second once you feel the pride of stepping into the ring.”
The swine issues contest begins by reaching into a hat of topics about the swine industry. After pulling out a randomly selected topic, the contestant receives 15 minutes to write and prepare a speech about the given topic. After the allotted time expires, the contestant presents the speech to the judge. Within the swine issues competition division, Mickey received first overall intermediate, Paulek earned third overall intermediate, and Schafer was selected for the champion overall senior.
“Extemporaneous public speaking can sometimes be a real challenge,” said Schafer, “but I think that the excitement of being able to get in front of someone and talk about anything that you are truly passionate about is one of the best feelings in the world.”
These Taylorville members, in addition to sophomores Audrey Curtin and Chloe Grant, also competed in the livestock judging portion and produced the champion intermediate livestock judging team. Individually, Mickey placed fourth overall and Curtin earned second overall in the intermediate division. Schafer also received fifth in the senior division.
“I am extremely proud and excited,” said Grant. “I can see how much our team continues to improve after each competition and practice and I am excited for our future as a team.”
The sweepstakes is a compilation of all results within the individual contests including: The exhibitors best placing animal within the show, showmanship, the swine issues contest, skillathon, and livestock judging. After competing in all contests Mickey was named tenth overall intermediate champion and Schafer earned reserve overall senior champion.
“Overall I think that this week was a huge success for all of us,” said Paulek. “The opportunities presented by FFA and the entire agriculture industry will be extremely beneficial for my future.”