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11 March, 2010

The Ohio State University Judging Teams

March 5, 2012 was a very special occassion for the 1959, 1984, 1999, and 2009 Livestock and Meat Judging Teams from The Ohio State University. It was the 50th Anniversary for the '59 teams of which I was a member. For most of us, it was one of the few times we had been together since being on the team and graduating from the University. Six of the seven members of our team were present as well as our coach, Dr. Tom Merritt. After a wonderful dinner, each of the teams was introduced by their coach and then each member of the team had the opportunity to make comments relative to their experience on the team, their relationship with members of the team, and a quick overview of their career. The members of the '59 Livestock Judging Team in this picture are (from left to right): Coach Dr. Tom Merritt, Carlos Wolfe, Clint Teegardin, George Wallace, Dr. Doug Hulme, Charles Hara, Bob Sutherly, and Bob Howser.

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.