Iowa State University held the annual Livestock Skillathon at the State Fair this year with Amy Powell, Department of Animal Science Extension Youth STEM Specialist, directing the event. Over 231 youth from 51 counties across the state of Iowa competed in this event. What is a skillathon you ask? According to Powell, a skillathon is a science-based educational contest that tests the participants knowledge of animal science. Skillathon teams are comprised of 3 individuals with different skill levels and there are five stations where youth work together to solve problems and identify sheep, swine or goat production components. Some of the questions that are asked involve identifying feed samples, breeds, meat cuts and equipment. Also answering questions about animal nutrients, quality assurance and handling of equipment come into play.
This was the 3rd year for the swine skillathon and 105 youth from 33 different counties across Iowa participated. The winning team was comprised of Tielyr Clabaugh and Ava Larson from Webster County and Jacob Sterle from Story County. The second place team members were Marta Grant from Jackson County, Hayden Fox of Wright County and Sophia Weaver from Howard County. Third place honors went to a team from Clay County comprised of Dayton, Davin and Dalayna Brugman. Story County took home fourth place honors with team members Jackson Sterle, Ava Henningsen and Ashley Kahler. Andre Dornbier, Brielle Smeby and Dalton Konz from Hancock County placed fifth. All participants received a skillathon t-shirt sponsored by the Iowa Pork Producers Association. Awards in the contest were provided by Merck Animal Health. The Iowa Pork Producers Association and Merck also provided volunteers to help staff the contest. Iowa State Block and Bridle members volunteered to serve as facilitators.
The sheep skillathon had 75 participants from 30 counties and this was it's second year for competition. The winning team was from Sac County and members included Will and Justin Rupnow and Lexie Berry. Second place honors went Sierra and Sadie Fastert of Lyon County and Emma Zwart of Sioux County. Chandler and Ella Jahner of Marion County and Jake Hlas from Tama County won third place. Story County took home fourth place honors with team members Jackson and Jake Sterle and Ashley Kahler. Fifth place awards went to Lily Skartuedt from Hamilton County and Jack McKinnery and Kade Faga of Story County. The sheep skillathon was sponsored by Premier Sheep Equipment and all participants received a skillathon t-shirt.
The goat skillathon was new for 2016 and 51 youth representing 20 different counties participated. First place team members included Kaylie Fetters and Ema Turnbull from Warren County and Shelby Dooley of Wayne County. Story County youth won second place with team members Ashley Kahler and Jake and Jackson Sterle. There was a three way tie for third that was broken on the breed identification score and third place honors were awarded to the Madison County team comprised of Pearl Jones, Morgan and Charlie Mineart. Fourth place went to Taylor Decious, Elsa and Chandler Jahner from Marion County. Adam and Audrey Smith from VanBuren County and Anna Beckman of Henry County won fifth place. This skillathon was also sponsored by Premier Sheep Equipment and all participants received a t-shirt.
Department of Animal Science faculty member, Greg Krahn, oversees table focusing on identifying equipment.
Block and Bridle Club Members oversee table where participants identify different cuts of meat.
Participants working to identify different breeds of swine.