2022 State Range Judging Contest held in Dawes County, Nebraska
Teams from West Holt take top honors in both the Senior and Junior Division
CHADRON, Neb. —— Three hundred and seventy-seven high school students and 25 teachers from 49 schools from across Nebraska visited Dawes County this fall to test their knowledge of rangeland management during the 67th Annual Nebraska State Range Judging Contest.
Each fall, students enrolled in agriculture or natural resources classes compete for top honors in range judging contests. Contestants compete as individuals and as teams in either the Junior or Senior Division. Six area contests are held in mid to late September in addition to the state contest. The contests are sponsored by the Nebraska Section Society for Range Management. Co-sponsors include Nebraska Extension, Natural Resources Districts, and Natural Resources Conservation Service. Volunteers from these and other natural resource agencies and groups assist local committees with organizing and conducting the contests.
Range Judging Contests test the participants’ skills and knowledge of plant identification, ecological site identification and composition, rangeland conservation and grazing management. While studying for range judging competitions, students learn about one of Nebraska’s major land uses. Rangelands cover nearly 50% of Nebraska and approximately 60% of the United States. Even if these young contest participants do not pursue a career in rangeland or natural resource management, they will gain an understanding of a major natural resource that will be remembered throughout their lifetimes.
The Junior Division included 209 individuals and 53 teams. Jack Thede from St. Paul and Cale Buss from Burwell High School tied for first place individual honors in the Junior Division. Nick Hansen, West Holt, placed second; Owen Wess, Chadron, placed third; and Makenna Schaaf, West Holt, placed fourth. Members of the first-place junior team from West Holt are Nick Hansen, Makenna Schaaf, Drake Nemetz and Lily Vogel. Members of the second-place junior team from Burwell are Cale Buss, Cody Burson, Colter Wright and Ericka Larsen. Members of the third-place junior team from St. Paul are Jack Thede, Matthew Kramer, Norah Paulsen and Layne Baker. Members of the fourth-place junior team from Sargent are Hayden Nelson, Grant Ottun, LoRenna Schauda and Emmet Grint
The Senior Division included 168 individuals and 42 teams. Sidney Burkinshaw from West Holt High School took first place individual honors in the Senior Division. Addie Karo, West Holt, placed second; Ryder Reineke, Ord, placed third; and Adam Knapp, Ord; placed fourth. Members of the first-place senior team from West Holt are Sidney Burkinshaw, Addie Karo, Issac Pistulka and EmiLee Walnofer. Members of the second place Ord team are Ryder Reineke, Adam Knapp, Makayla Wray and William Skibinski. The third place St. Paul team includes Isaac Hagen, Sam Wells, Sam Kramer and Kaleb Baker. Members of the fourth-place senior team from Burwell are Hayes Jensen, Wyatt Larsen, Cooper Phillipps and Ethan Joy.
This year saw a general increase in student participation compared to last. The senior division marked an uptick with 41 more individuals and six more teams since 2021. Similarly, the junior division expanded since last September with an additional 67 students and 15 teams. Overall, participation rose with 108 more students and seven schools taking part in the contest last year. Twenty-five adults also participated in the contest. David Gibbens, ag-ed instructor from West Holt High School placed first in the adult competition. Additional contest information is available on the Nebraska Section, SRM Website, http://www.nesrm.org/RangeJudging.html.