The Show Must Go On! - Young Members Keeping Busy
For TJ Mills and Emery Mills of rural Moline, showing cattle is more than just “showing cattle”. This summer the boys haven’t allowed a world pandemic to slow them down any. They’ve been busy both in and out of the show barn. They have practiced their speech skills, judging skills, and studied for Skillathon contests this summer while staying busy with their livestock projects.
The speech contests they’ve entered generally focus around livestock topics. They both spend hours preparing and memorizing speeches. Their livestock judging includes judging all species, placing classes of 4 individual animals, then giving oral reason as to why they placed them the way they did. TJ also participates in meats judging of beef, pork, and lamb products.
As far as preparing for Skillathon contests, anything goes! They practice identifying breeds of livestock, as well as identifying feed components that go into livestock feed. They also must be very familiar with tools and equipment used in the livestock industry, and have a good understanding of how to read labels on feed and medicine bottles.
In late spring, the boys participated in a multi-state online Skillathon contest sponsored by First Florida, and both placed in the top 10 in the Junior division.
In mid June, TJ and Emery participated in a virtual Skillathon contest with southeast Kansas where Emery placed third and TJ placed 10th in the intermediate division. TJ also placed seventh in the Meats contest.
For the first time since February, the boys finally had the opportunity to show their cattle in a live show in early July. During the Maine Anjou Junior National Show in Sioux Falls,South Dakota, Emery Mills competed in the speech contest, TJ placed fourth in the speech contest and placed fifth in the salesmanship contest. The boys also exhibited three Maine Anjou heifers and one Maine Anjou steer. They also made call-backs in the showmanship contest.
For the Mills family, showing cattle has turned into something way more than just hauling cattle to the next show. They are committed to learn as much as they can about the industry and share that knowledge with others. The way things are right now, it’s sure good to know that we have young Ag Advocates in training!