During the course of the evening as the various members of the teams were introduced you learned that the vast majority were or had been associated with agriculture. A significant number related their experience on the judging teams and how those disciplines played a role in advancing their careers. The most evident change over the past 50 years was the percentage of women on the teams had grown and in some cases in the most recent years, there were more females on the teams than men.
Dr. Merritt proudly reminded us and those in attendance that our team had placed 2nd out of 50 teams at the International Livestock Show which was held in Chicago at that time. That was the final of eight contests of which we participated in the fall of 1959 having traveled as far east as Springfield, Massachusetts, as far west as Kansas City.
We had all attended Dr. Merritt's judging course in the spring of 1959. During the summer we traveled to a number of large beef cattle, swine, and sheep breeders to practice our skills that we learned in class and participated in the contests in the fall. Each contest had 12 classes of livestock. We had to rank the animals in each class and then in the afternoon, we had to appear in front of the expert for each of 8 classes and tell them why we ranked the animals as we did on our score cards. These presentations were made extemporaneously without the aid of notes.
It was a proud moment for each of us in attendance as well as our wives and family who also attended.