Ohio dairy judging teams win big at World Dairy Expo

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ohio state dairy judging team
The Ohio State University team won the National Intercollegiate Dairy Judging Contest at the World Dairy Expo. From left: Coach Bonnie Ayars, Lauren Almasy, Billy Smith, Ian Lokai and Sarah Lehner. (Submitted photo)

SALEM, Ohio — The Ohio State University team took first place at the National Intercollegiate Dairy Judging Contest, breaking a 33-year drought.

The Ohio State team won by one point over the Penn State University team.

Ohio team members include Lauren Almasy, Sarah Lehner, Billy Smith and Ian Lokai. The team was coached by Bonnie Ayars.

The last time the Ohio State team won the intercollegiate contest was in 1986.

“There’s a lot of variables to getting the right team pulled together. The stars aligned. That’s what it was,” Ayars said. “These are all kids that judged on the national 4-H team representing Ohio. They have grown up steeped in dairy.”

The team carried with them some good luck charms in tribute to longtime coach Pete Spike, who passed away unexpectedly this spring, Ayars said. One item was a buckeye, which Spike would always give the team for good luck.

Ayars said they also carried 10 pennies in their pockets in honor of Spike’s farm name, Ten Penny Holsteins.

The second-place winning Penn State team included Daniel Kitchen, Caleb McGee, Gregory Norris and Belle Dallam. The team was coached by Dale Olvery.

“These kids will now all have a very impressive resume when they put that on,” Ayars said. “Kids who judge are problem solvers, they’re decision makers. They know how to handle it with maturity in a short amount of time.”

The Ohio 4-H team judging team took second place overall and third in reasons in the National 4-H Dairy Cattle Judging Contest

Team members included Marissa Topp, Derek Burns, Heath Starkey and Lindsay L’Amoreaux. The team was coached by Sherry Smith.

The Pennsylvania 4-H team took ninth place.

The contests were held on Sept. 30 at the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin.

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Rachel is a reporter with Farm and Dairy and a graduate of Clarion University of Pennsylvania. She married a fourth-generation beef and sheep farmer and settled down in her hometown in Beaver County. Before coming to Farm and Dairy, she worked at several daily and weekly newspapers throughout Western Pennsylvania covering everything from education and community news to police and courts.

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