Saturday, January 14, 2017

Two Area Teens Compete in Skillathon at Pennsylvania Farm Show

Two area teens have proven that they have the right stuff to compete against other teens of similar age testing their general knowledge of livestock management. Collin Felty 13 of Schuylkill Haven by way of Tamaqua and Cassie Keller 13 of Orwigsburg recently competed against other teens their age at the 101st PA Farm Show. They competed in an event called a Skillathon. Both individuals placed in the top ten of the state. Collin placed 7th and Cassie placed 8th.

The Skillathon is a test of knowledge about raising livestock. The contest is open to 4-H and FFA members exhibiting Junior Market Lambs or Junior Breeding Sheep at the 2017 PA Farm Show and to other members caring sheep Projects not exhibiting at Farm Show. Although Collin did not exhibit sheep at the 2017 PA Farm Show he still was eligible to participate in this contest because he exhibited sheep projects at the Schuylkill County Fair. The Skillathon is designed to recognize and encourage those members who have acquired a fundamental knowledge of sheep management practices. Competition is held in four age divisions. Collin and Cassie competed in Division III for youth born between 2002 – 2004. Collin and Cassie were are asked a series of questions pertaining to topics such as: Quality Assurance and Health, Meat Identification, Equipment Identification and Use, Feeds, Feeding and Nutrition and Livestock Management. The questions were done in a written format. The results came in and Collin Felty a student in the 7th grade in the Schuylkill Haven School District is the son of Carl and Jill Felty placed 7 in the state. Seven must be his lucky number. Cassie Keller a grade 7 student in the Blue Mountain School District is the daughter of William and Alicia Keller and she placed 8 in the state.

Cassie Keller was able to take the competition one step further by exhibiting a lamb at the 2017 PA Farm Show. This enabled her to enter into the Outstanding Young Shepherd Program. This is a combined competition of knowledge proven in the Skillathon with skill in the show ring. Here Cassie exhibited a lamb into the Junior Market Lamb competition. The Outstanding Young Shepherd Program recognized those youth exhibitors who demonstrate showmanship skills and who exhibit animals of superior body conformation. Contestants are scored in Showmanship scored during show,

Animal Type and Placing Score along with Skillathon Score. When all numbers were counted Cassie placed in the Top Five of the State of PA for her age group.

Congratulations go out to Collin Felty and Cassie Keller proving they have right stuff. Collin and Cassie attribute their success in the ability to share their interest with other members of their Blue Mountain 4-H Livestock Club. They feel refreshed to be surrounded by people who share common interest and understanding in the daily struggle of trying to keep the family farm going. People who share the passion of caring for livestock, love the land, and more often than not, put in a full day of work and learning off the farm to keep the dream alive. They have learned at a young age that hard work, determination, trust, honest, and perseverance allows one to achieve. Through 4-H and participation in the junior livestock program they have had a unique opportunity to use live animals to help them develop. They have learned something about agriculture and livestock production and develop an appreciation for the livestock industry. They have learned life skills that will help them become productive citizens. They have experienced owning and working with animals, being responsible for their care, health and growth and exhibiting them in a competitive environment is a tremendous character building process. A character building process that they feel that they would have not leaned anywhere else, but through these programs. For Collin and Cassie the success they have had is proof that 4-H and the junior livestock program work to make greater Americans.