The Lawrence County 4H Livestock team recently earned a 10th place finish in the North American International Livestock Exposition Contest in Louisville, Kentucky. The team qualified to represent Missouri at the event during the state 4H livestock contest.

The Lawrence County 4-H team consists of Kaitlin Kleiboeker, Brenden Kleiboeker, Cade Shepherd and Lucas Crutcher and is coached by Jim Spencer Jr., Livestock Evaluation Team project leader for Lawrence County 4-H.

The team earned 10th high team in the sheep and goat division and a silver team rating overall in the contest. Each team member posted his or her personal best score for the event.

The national 4H livestock contest consist of 11 animal evaluation classes, made up of cattle, sheep, goats and swine. Additionally, contestants present four sets of oral reasons defending their placings for specific classes and also have three sets of questions over classes of cattle, sheep and swine. After the animal evaluation portion of the contest, all four team members were only 12 points apart, and after the questions and reasons scores were tabulated for the final overall team score, they were only 30 points apart top to bottom.

In preparation for the national contest, the team traveled a couple thousand miles through four states, practicing on over fifty classes of animals and multiple sets of reasons given in the hotel at night.

“This is an awesome group of students," stated Spencer. "They worked hard and were dedicated to improving their judging and oral reasons skills. It was my privilege to work with this team, and I look forward to their impact on the agriculture industry."

Spencer and the team would like to thank the following sponsors who contributed to the team and made the trip to Louisville, as well as practice trips, possible: Southwest Cattleman’s Association, RoKaJo Farm -- Mary Ann Keck, Lawrence County Farm Bureau, Whitehead Farm Supply, Shining Cross Farm -- Jim McCann, Greene County Cattleman Associaiton, Weaver Forest, Greene County Farm Bureau, Jim Shepherd, Chance and Michelle Kleeman, Jimmy Michel Motors and the Missouri 4H Foundation.