by Emily Beckman
Located just south of the main campus, the 1400 building may be one of Butler Community College’s hidden gems.
The agriculture building is home of the Livestock Judging Team, whose sophomores recently returned from the National Barrow Show in Austin, Minnesota. This was the team’s first time competing in this particular show in over 20 years.
But they left their mark as they were named the Champion Team Overall and the Champion Team in Reasons, an oral expression defending their choices. In addition, the team had the High Individual Overall, the High Individual in Reasons and a number of other individual awards.
“I think it’s important to know that our agriculture program is one of the most recognizable in the country,” sophomore Payton Dahmer says. “There’s a lot of people who have come out and become industry leaders from Butler.”
Professor and Livestock Judging Coach Marcus Arnold explains that being on the team requires a lot of practice.
“It’s a unique competition in the fact that it’s really one of a kind,” he says. “You have to make quick decisions in a time frame and have the verbal skills to defend that decision … there’s a lot of life skills that are being developed.”
Being on the team
Arnold speaks highly of the team, emphasising that in the four years that he has been the coach, the cumulative GPA for both teams hasn’t dropped below a 3.7.
“Academically, they’re really intelligent young people,” he says.
There are currently 14 students on the freshman team, and eight on the sophomore team. Their season begins the week before school starts, with the last competition held at the end of March.
Both teams typically workout four to five days per week. The freshmen practice on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, while the sophomores practice on Monday and Wednesday afternoons. In addition, both teams practice on Friday, Saturday and sometimes Sunday, traveling to visit farms to look at livestock.
Sophomore Haley Starke explains that the team spends weekday practices strengthening their Reasons skills, and weekends practicing placing classes.
“As a team, we don’t really limit ourselves to what we do in our hours of practice … we pretty much live and breathe it every moment of every day,” Starke says.