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Dane and Wood County youth are 4-H Dairy Bowl champs

Youth dairy experts from Dane and Wood counties captured top honors at this year”s State 4-H Dairy Bowl, held Feb. 7 in Portage.

The winning teams correctly answered questions about dairy cattle – including facts about breeds, genetics, health concerns, nutrition, and many other topics – during a tournament where approximately 200 youth on 42 Wisconsin county teams participated.

“The event”s success is a direct reflection of the volunteers who take their time and support the dairy bowl program,” said Ted Halbach, University of Wisconsin-Madison/Extension dairy youth specialist and organizer of the event. He noted that more than 30 contest-day adult volunteers were involved, in addition to all the coaches who teach and mentor contestants for months in advance of the competition.

“Dairy bowl and really the entire dairy youth program are fortunate that we have so many volunteers who are willing to step up and help make programs like this run so successfully,” stated Halbach. “There is no question that their time and effort makes a difference in the positive development of our youth.”

In the senior division, Dane County defeated Vernon County in a winner-take-all match for champion honors. Dane County will represent Wisconsin later this year at the National 4-H Dairy Bowl Contest in Louisville, Ky. Members of the Dane County team are Amber Elliott, Erick Monsen, Chris Roth, and Vicki Cooper. They are coached by Kathy Elliott.

“As a coach, I feel the knowledge our team has learned over the years is introducing them to our industry, which will hopefully keep their interests in agriculture for a future career,” stated Elliott. “It is very gratifying, watching our team members have fun learning about the dairy cow and our industry. When the team is rewarded by doing well in the contest it”s like an extra bonus for all of their hard work.”

The Vernon County senior team took second after coming back from a third-round loss to Grant County, and then beating Grant County in round seven to go to the championship round. Both Vernon County and Grant County senior teams will represent Wisconsin at the World Dairy Expo 4-H Dairy Bowl Invitational. Kent Wendorf coaches the Vernon team of Chrissy Wendorf, Brian Wendorf, Derek Petersheim, and Ashley Peterson. The Grant County team, coached by Bob Keeney, consisted of Heather Scanlan, Trisha Stanek, Chloe Briel, Craig Pagenkopf.

Senior division teams are composed of members who are 14 years or older.

Dane County also prevailed in the junior division against Door County, as they sorted themselves through the winners” bracket for champion honors. Rhonda Wethal and Chad Wethal coached the team of Abbey Wethal, Laura Elliott, Wendy Sine, and Macy Sarbacker.

The Door County second-place team was coached by Clarice Brey. The team members were Jacob Brey, Garrett Rass, Brandon Kruswick, and Alex Kruswich.

Youth under 14 years of age compete as teams in the junior division.

Wood County won in the mixed division, but had to work their way through the consolation bracket and beat the undefeated Green County team twice to earn first-place honors. Teams in the mixed bracket include members from both the senior and junior age divisions. The winning Wood County team, coached by Matt Lippert, consisted of Jordan Wolf, Lee Slattery, Carl Lippert, and Paul Lippert. The second-place Green County team included Jerad Dickman, Kristin Klossner, John Klossner, and Kristen Smith.

“Dairy Bowl, like no other activity, provides kids with the opportunity to expand their knowledge of the dairy industry. Kids are turned on by the competitive nature of dairy bowl and really enjoy the teamwork that goes into having a successful team,” commented Halbach. “Academically, I also think that Dairy Bowl exposes youth to science in a fun way outside of their regular school curriculum.”

The Wisconsin 4-H Dairy Endowment Fund, the UW-Madison Department of Dairy Science, Columbia County 4-H, and the Badger Dairy Club co-sponsor the event.