Vermont 4-H members tested at Eastern States

WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. —  Vermont 4-H sheep members had an opportunity to take stock of their skills and knowledge when it comes to all things sheep in several fast-paced competitions at Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, Mass., Oct. 3-4.
The Vermont delegation to this regional New England event took part in general knowledge, quiz bowl and sheep blocking and fitting contests. They also set up an educational exhibit on parisitology that was awarded second prize.
Representing University of Vermont (UVM) Extension 4-H were Jarod and Raymond Bushey and Matthew Rivait, all from Addison; William Cousineau, Shoreham; Rebecca Moriarty, Jericho; Colleen Bernier, Gabrielle and Riley Ochs and Siri Swanson, all from Orwell; and Willa Shakeshaft, Putnam Station, N.Y. (member of an Addison County 4-H club).
In the general knowledge contest, designed to test how much the competitors know about breeds, animal nutrition and health, anatomy and other sheep-related topics, Vermont 4-H’ers placed in the top three in every division. Raymond Bushey was third in the senior division. Swanson and Gabrielle Ochs finished one-two in the intermediate division. In the junior division, Vermonters also grabbed the top two places with Moriarty, first, and Riley Ochs, second.
Bernier, Cousineau, Gabrielle Ochs and Swanson competed for Vermont in quiz bowl. The team finished second to the Massachusetts team.
The blocking and fitting contests are a timed competition in which two-person teams are given a sheep at random and have an hour to clip and groom the animal for judging. Bernier and Swanson teamed up to take second in the senior division. Gabrielle Ochs and Shakeshaft came in third.
In the intermediate division, Cousineau and Jarod Bushey placed second. Moriarty and Riley Ochs captured first prize in the junior division. 
The Individual Shepherd Award for Vermont went to Bernier. This honor goes to one delegate from each state who epitomizes what 4-H stands for through teamwork and commitment to the 4-H sheep project. Each state delegation selects its recipient by secret ballot. 
To learn more about the 4-H sheep program in Vermont, contact Wendy Sorrell, UVM Extension 4-H livestock educator, at [email protected] or (802) 656-5418. 

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