Land & Range Judging Contest 2007 First Place Winners

2007 Land Judging Contest Winners Honored

First Place Results Noted

Over 170 teams of teenage FFA and 4-H members competed in the 56th annual National Land and Range Judging Contest, held May 1-3 in Oklahoma City, according to contest cochairman Scotty Herriman. Herriman is president of the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts, the contest’s principal sponsor. “We had teams from over 36 states competing this year, including Hawaii” Herriman said.

Students competing in the 2007 National Land & Range Judging Contest

Herriman notes the idea of a land judging contest was invented by three Oklahoma conservationists in 1942. They decided which soil qualities could be judged and developed score cards to test skills. The idea caught on and Oklahoma City has been hosting the national contest since 1952.

The 4-H and FFA participating teams qualified for the national event by placing among the top five teams at contests held in their home states. Herriman said the teams match skills in judging the adaptability of land for various purposes including farming, range management, and homesite construction. An adult category is provided to allow coaches, team alternates and others interested in soil to compete.

“The contestants take turns examining the soil in pits and trenches dug especially for the contest,” Herriman said. He noted that the skills the teens test at the contest involve principles that can be valuable in career fields like environmental and agricultural management, natural resource conservation, home building and construction.

The actual contest site remains a secret until contest day, so no one has an unfair advantage. Contestants and coaches gather on contest morning to find out the official contest location. They then travel to the site, with a police escort, in a caravan of over 100 cars spanning several miles. This year the Redlands Community College in El Reno hosted the Land Judging Contest and the Concho Cheyenne and Arapaho Agency hosted the Range Judging Contest. The contest day was held May 3.

The event ended Thursday night with an awards banquet in the Great Hall of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum when the day’s freshly-tabulated results were announced. National championship trophies were awarded to team and individual winners in each category of competition including land judging, range judging, and homesite evaluation. Each category included FFA, 4-H and adult divisions.

In Land Judging, FFA competition, the Ravenswood, W.V, chapter, won in the team category and the first place individual winner was Derick Dilon of that team. In the 4-H competition the North Miami chapter, Denver Ind., was the winning team, and Mallory Keeling of that team was the individual winner. The adult category winner was Lance Howe of Redfield, S.D.

In the Range Judging Contest, the South Coffeyville, Okla., FFA chapter won the FFA team competition, and Ethan Woolever of that team took the first place individual FFA award. The Butte Chapter of Newell, S.D., won the 4-H team category, and Nathan Tonne of Caddo, Texas, placed first in the individual category. Kevin Stacy of South Coffeyville, Okla., won in the adult category.

In Homesite Evaluation, the Ravenswood, W.V., chapter won the FFA team competition, and Derick Dilon of that team, took the first place individual FFA award. The North Miami, Denver Ind., chapter won the 4-H team category, and Heather Hart of Phillipi, W.V., placed first in the individual category. Eugene Mellette, of Jamesville, N.C., won the adult award in the Homesite competition.

Each year, an individual is selected as official Contest Honoree in recognition of outstanding support or contribution to the event. The 2007 National Land and Range Judging Contest Honoree Award to Rose Bonjour of Stillwater. Bonjour is the Central District Ag Education Program Specialist for the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education. She has worked on tabulating Land & Range Judging Contest scores for 20 years and now leads the FFA tabulating team.

Herriman credits the OACD Auxiliary, conservation district employees association and Oklahoma conservation districts for helping make the contest a success.

“I would like to thank all the conservation districts, businesses and associations who sponsored this educational contest,” Herriman said. “It takes a tremendous amount of time, effort and money to put on an annual event like this.”

“A special thanks goes to the Redlands Community College and Concho Cheyenne and Arapaho Agency for hosting the contest sites.” Herriman said, “Thanks also to the Noble Foundation for sponsoring the printed program and the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum for hosting the awards banquet, along with many other sponsors.”

Herriman said the Auxiliary of the National Association of Conservation Districts sponsored the Social Hour and Dance this year, hosted by the OACD Auxiliary. Members of the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts Employees assist with the very vital contest tabulating, which takes place in the few hours between the end of the contest and the beginning of the awards banquet.

In addition to the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts, contest cosponsors include the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, Oklahoma Farm Credit, Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Oklahoma Conservation Commission, Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, Oklahoma Farmers Union, Oklahoma Farm Bureau and numerous other businesses and organizations.