2018 State Range Judging Contest held in Chase County

Teams from West Holt FFA and Hayes Center FFA take top honors in the contest

Recently, 448 high school students and teachers from 48 schools from across Nebraska visited Chase County to test their knowledge of rangeland management during the 64th annual Nebraska State Range Judging Contest.

Each fall, students enrolled in agriculture or natural resources classes compete for top honors in range judging contests. Contestants compete as individuals and as teams in either the Junior or Senior Division. Six area contests are held in mid to late September in addition to the State contest. The contests are sponsored by the Nebraska Section Society for Range Management. Co-sponsors include Nebraska Extension, Natural Resources Districts, and Natural Resources Conservation Service. Volunteers from these and other natural resource agencies and groups assist local committees with organizing and conducting the contests. Over the last 10 years, attendance at area contests has averaged 1,100 students.

Range Judging Contests test the participants’ skills and knowledge of plant identification, ecological site identification and composition, rangeland conservation and grazing management. While studying for range judging competitions, students learn about one of Nebraska’s major land uses. Rangelands cover nearly 50 percent of Nebraska and approximately 60 percent of the United States. Even if these young contest participants do not pursue a career in rangeland or natural resource management, they will gain an understanding of a major natural resource that will be remembered throughout their lifetimes.

The Junior Division included 244 individuals and 69 teams. Sheridan Wilson from Arthur County took first place individual honors in the Junior Division. Lindsey Mendenhall, Imperial FFA placed second; Sam Thede, St. Paul FFA placed third; and Nickolas Rau from Imperial FFA placed fourth. Members of the first place junior team from Imperial are Lindsey Mendenhall, Nickolas Rau, Ryan Bernhardt and Alexis Richmond. Members of the second place junior team from West Holt FFA are Lucas Olson, Caid McCart, Jackson Butterfield, and Aaron Kraus. Members of the third place junior team from St. Paul are Sam Thede, Rebekah Paulsen, Jacob Wels and Austin Dubas. Members of the fourth place junior team from Arthur County are Sheridan Wilson, Emma Ohm, Kaden Wykert and Gracie Wenzel.

The Senior Division included 177 individuals and 64 teams. Olivia Leising from Arapahoe FFA took first place individual honors in the Senior Division. Martin Wentworth, West Holt FFA placed second; Broklyn Christensen, Imperial FFA placed third and Casey Coburn, West Holt FFA placed fourth. Members of the first place senior team from West Holt are Martin Wentworth, Casey Coburn, Ellie Burkinshaw and Cole Liable. Members of the second place Imperial FFA team are Brooklyn Christensen, Taylor Jablonski, Katelyn Leibhart and Austin Bernhardt. The third place Hayes Center FFA team includes Ashton Erickson, Jaycee Lapp, Avery Johnson and Jakob Anderjaska. Members of the fourth place senior team from Ainsworth are Rebecca Taylor, Sam Wilkins, Trey Schlueter and Henry Beel.


Twenty-seven adults also participated in the contest. Kevin Wetovick, Ag-Ed instructor from Fullerton placed first in the adult competition. Additional contest information is available on the Nebraska Section, SRM Website, http://www.nesrm.org/RangeJudging.html.

The Old West Regional Range Judging Contest is an additional opportunity for range judgers. The Old West Region includes the states of Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska. This year, the Old West Regional Contest will be held in Buffalo, Wyoming on Oct. 13. See the Nebraska Section, SRM website for details.