Benton County 4-Hers Compete in the National Arena

The Benton County 4-H Livestock Skills Group wrapped up their 2022 competition season by representing Iowa at three national competitions.

Previously in the year, the Benton County 4-H youth won the “triple crown” of 4-H livestock contests in Iowa. They earned state championships in the Livestock Skillathon, Livestock Quiz Bowl, and Livestock Judging competitions.

The Skillathon and Judging teams went on to compete at the national 4-H competitions held during the North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, Ky. in November.

In the Livestock Skillathon, the 4-Hers competed in 10 stations that covered topics including meat identification, livestock nutrition, reproduction, wool judging, and hay evaluation. Team members Gabe Hanson, Olivia Hanson, William Kroneman, Steiger Manson, and Josh Wiley placed 10th in the nation overall.

The Livestock Judging team of Gabe Hanson, Alex Ludeking, Steiger Manson, and Josh Wiley evaluated live animals and defended their placings with oral reasons. The team was 9th overall, 5th in oral reasons, 5th in beef, and 7th in swine. Individually, Steiger Manson was 4th in swine and 13th overall. Gabe Hanson was 2nd in oral reasons and 10th in beef.

Steiger Manson also was named to the 2022 All American 4-H Livestock Judging team based on his top-20 individual finish.

In early January 2023, the Livestock Quiz Bowl team traveled to Denver, Colo. to compete at the National Western Round-up Competition in conjunction with the National Western Stock Show. The team placed 4th overall and Steiger Manson was named high individual of the contest for scoring the most points as an individual competitor.

“Trips with the Livestock Judging and Skills teams are at the foundation of some of my fondest memories,” said Manson, a senior at Center Point-Urbana High School who came home with two coveted belt buckles from Louisville and Denver. “Getting to share these experiences with my teammates has been incredible. Whether it was trying a local restaurant in Denver, or competing at NAILE, my teammates and I have made some amazing memories, and it will certainly be something I miss after my time in 4-H is done.”

The camaraderie and friendships often are cited by the young people in the group. This year’s national competitors truly span Benton County, as the six young people attend four different school districts – Benton Community, Center Point-Urbana, Union Community and Vinton-Shellsburg.

“I’ve learned an amazing amount from these teams and trips, and had so much fun,” said Olivia Hanson, a junior at Union High School. “I can’t wait to kick off the 2023 season and encourage our younger members so they can have the same experiences.”

To fund the trips, the 4-Hers picked pumpkins, worked concession stands, and hosted a guest night at Pizza Ranch. They also are grateful for the support of many individuals and groups who donated funds for their travels, including the Benton County Friends of 4-H and the Benton County Cattlemen.

The teams were collectively coached by Bob Hanson, Mitchell Hanson, Maureen Hanson, Robin Manson, Stacy Siek, and Todd Wiley.

To learn more about the Benton County 4-H Livestock Skills Group, contact the Benton County Extension office at 319/472-4739.


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