University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign University of Illinois Sesquicentennial College of ACES
ACES Animal Sciences
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Judging Teams

Enhance your ability to think, reason, and communicate when you join one of our Department of Animal Sciences’ judging teams. Our tradition of success is not only evident by our trophy case, but more importantly by our former judging team members who have gone on to obtain leadership roles in the livestock, dairy, horse, and meat industries.

Students involved in dairy, horse, meats, or livestock judging have the opportunity to travel and visit operations that are leading the industry. You will meet and interact with the owners and managers of these successful operations, providing a better understanding of animal agriculture and giving you the opportunity to develop strong ties with its leaders.

Judging team members also have the opportunity to compete against universities across the United States in contests held in conjunction with major industry events such as the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo, the American Royal, and the North American International Livestock Exposition. 

Faculty and students with dairy cows

Dairy Judging Team

In dairy cattle judging, students rank groups of four animals in a class and, for some classes, provide a short verbal explanation of that ranking. There are usually 10-12 classes in a contest. The University of Illinois Dairy Cattle Judging Team competes in five or six contests in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Kentucky during the fall semester. Team members are generally juniors or seniors. Anyone practicing with the team as a junior or senior will have the opportunity to compete in at least one or two contests.

Advised by
  • Gene McCoy, gcmccoy@illinois.edu
  • Dr. David Miller, djmille@illinois.edu

Horse Judging Team

As a member of the horse judging team, you will have the opportunity to view some of the world's best horses at national judging competitions and improve your decision-making skills and self-confidence through systematic evaluation of classes. The judging team practices and competes in the fall semester, and members are encouraged to take ANSCI 313 before joining the team.

Advised by
  • Debra Hagstrom, hagstrom@illinois.edu

Dr. Dan Shike with students

Livestock Judging Team

The livestock judging team is open to all undergraduate students at the University of Illinois, although most members of the team have a strong interest in animal agriculture and its related industries. If you are interested, enroll in ANSCI 211 (Breeding Animal Evaluation) in the spring semester of your junior year to compete at the National Western Stock Show, Denver, CO; Sioux Empire, Sioux Falls, SD; Iowa Beef Expo, Des Moines, IA; Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, Houston, TX; and the All-East.

Advised by
  • Dr. Dan Shike, dshike@illinois.edu
  • Parker Henley, phenley2@illinois.edu

Happy cows!

Meat Animal Evaluation Team

The meat animal evaluation team serves as the capstone experience for students with an interest in the evaluation of breeding animals, market animals, and the end product. The contest consists of four sections: the breeding, meats, and market animal divisions, and the communication challenge. The meat animal evaluation team competes in the spring at the National Meat Animal Evaluation Contest.

Advised by
  • Dr. Dan Shike, dshike@illinois.edu
  • Parker Henley, phenley2@illinois.edu
  • Katelyn Jones-Hamlow, kajones4@illinois.edu

Graduate student, Daniel Clark, teaching a group of undergraduate students how to evaluate different livestock carcasses

Meat Judging Team

As a member of the meat judging team, you will compete in contests across the country. Participation on the team will give you a firsthand understanding of how the final product is evaluated, fabricated, and marketed. Meat judging team members are exposed to numerous segments of the livestock and meats industry across the United States. This will allow you to network within the animal production industry and to explore other universities across the nation. The team competes at the Hormel National Barrow Show, the Southeastern Meat Judging Contest, the Eastern National Meat Judging Contest, the American Royal Meat Judging Contest, the High Plaines Meat Judging Contest, and the International Intercollegiate Meat Judging Contest.

Advised by
  • Katelyn Jones-Hamlow, kajones4@illinois.edu
Meat Judging Team on Facebook