Laramie Snowy Range FFA claims national title with horse judging team
Laramie – A pair of Wyoming FFA chapters were rewarded on the national level at this fall’s 2010 National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Ind., when both the Laramie Snowy Range horse judging team and the Cheyenne Frontier ag issues team took top national honors.
Sadie Supudo and Christa Avery are two of the four members of the Laramie Snowy Range horse judging team.
“We all have general knowledge of horses, because we either show or are involved otherwise, and we thought a horse judging team would be a good way to put our knowledge to use,” says Avery of her team.
The team competed at the State FFA Convention last April before being presented with the opportunity to travel to the national contest.
“As a team, three of us have worked together for three years,” says Avery. The fourth team member was added for the national competition to serve as a safety net, she says.”
The week previous to the Indianapolis competition the team competed in the 4-H horse judging contest at the Quarter Horse Congress in Columbus, Ohio.
Avery says there were 45 other teams who competed at the FFA contest. “It was a whole different level, because all those teams had already won their state contests. The contest itself wasn’t more difficult, but the competition level was definitely higher,” she says.
The two-day contest had eight classes to judge the first day, including Western, English and halter. The second day presented a team activity, which included a test and a presentation on basic horse knowledge.
“It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to win a national competition,” says Supudo. “We work well together, and we all have a drive for winning.”
Supudo and Avery both recognize the effort of their ag advisor Danielle Cox-Kunkel and their coach Katie Ogden in helping them succeed both at state and nationally.
“What makes this team successful is that they work really hard,” says Cox-Kunkel. “They’ve been working since we won the state contest – practicing twice a week on a consistent basis. They give reasons well, they’re confident, and they wanted it.”
Cox-Kunkel says she traveled with her FFAers, including two other teams besides the horse judging team, and she was able to be there with them at the awards banquet. The other teams competed in poultry evaluation and farm and ranch business management, and they were both silver teams, which means they were in the top third of the entries.
“Since we had three teams traveling from our FFA chapter, we all all worked together with the fundraising for the 24 people who went,” says Avery.
“It’s really cool to win a national contest, and it’s fun to see the kids’ hard work pay off,” says Cox-Kunkel, adding she’s thankful to have Ogden to help coach the team and make it happen. “She’s all volunteer, and she lives in Laramie and works with both 4-H and FFA. It’s a big program here in Laramie, and a big chapter, so I can’t do it all by myself. I try to recruit good people to help out.”
Cox-Kunkel adds that Ogden attended college on a horse judging scholarship and approached her about helping with the evaluation team, and that was three years ago.
Having already won state, the team can no longer compete in FFA horse judging contests in Wyoming, and Cox-Kunkel expects them to find new challenges next spring. She adds that Supudo and Avery both have intentions of continuing to participate in horse judging contests when they get to college.
Christy Martinez is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.