By Caitlin MacDougall
Recently, nearly 90 participants arrived at the Centennial Centre on Macdonald Campus to take part in the 64th annual Macdonald Intercollegiate Judging Competition in which they would judge a variety of live animals and crops during the all-day event. Youth from different 4-H clubs across Quebec participated in the 4-H division (five teams), while students from five different colleges and universities from Quebec and Ontario participated in the collegiate category (13 teams). This year, the alumni division was also active, with three Mac teams competing. The competition is unquestionably the largest held in Quebec, and arguably the largest in Canada.
The 2014 edition was lucky to have Mother Nature on its side (at least in the morning), allowing all registered teams to arrive on time, starting things off very punctually with the morning division of judging. Half the competitors were brought to the Show Ring and Mac Farm, where they judged dairy cows, beef heifers, miniature horses, sheep, poultry, swine identification, and completed a mystery class. Oral reasons were required for the first three classes, while the others were placings only.
The second group of competitors judged the crops and other classes in the Ceilidh of the Centennial Centre at the same time. The classes there included strawberry jam, mushrooms, haylage, maple syrup, apples, whole grains identification and a mystery class, again oral reasons were required for the first three classes. To the delight of many competitors, the maple syrup and strawberry jam classes allowed for tasting the samples.
After lunch, the groups switched locations, to complete the remainder of the 14 classes. For each class, members were given 12 minutes to decide on their ranking. After everyone was finished, official placings were given by the judges. This was followed by a break before the awards banquet, allowing the club organizers and volunteers time to finish tabulating the scores and recording the winners. Many staff, students and alumni helped to make the day run smoothly. Ring masters kept track of time in each location and upheld the rules, while others corrected identification and mystery class cards, and judges listened to oral reasons and score each participant.
When it came time for the banquet, everyone was excited in anticipation of hearing their names called for ribbons or certificates. The Macdonald teams were edgy, as they had had mixed results at the Dalhousie University in Truro, NS, in early January and at the Université Laval competition the following weekend in Quebec City. While some individuals did well, they weren’t as successful as a team in the overall awards.
First the 4-H division awards were given out – Julie MacFarlane of Howick 4-H received the Ness Plaque for Top Livestock Individual Judge and the Diploma Program Trophy for Top Crops Individual Judge. It was no surprise that she was the Top Overall Individual Judge as well.
In the team awards, Sawyerville 4-H won Top Livestock Judging Team, while Howick 4-H won Top Crops Judging team, with Howick edging out Sawyerville for the Top 4-H Judging Team Trophy. Howick 4-H had several experienced judges on their team, and managed to place seventh out of 21 teams (including collegiate and alumni) with 2,921 points.
Next came the individual judging prizes for each of the classes at the College/University level. Several Mac degree students, particularly Shinae Hartley and Andrew Hall, who are new to judging, had surprising wins – proving that you don’t need years of experience to develop a judge’s eye. Members of the “Bobby and the Babes” team also won a number of classes, as did members from “McGill A” and “Dips+”, with a smattering of prizes for teams from other schools.
Top Overall Individual Oral Reasons was won by Ashlie Hardy (FMT’15), with Bobby Tolhurst (FMT’15) coming in second. The Dean’s Cup for Top Overall Individual Judge was won by “McGill A” member Stéphanie Bélanger-Naud (FMT’14), with Bobby Tolhurst (of “Bobby and the Babes” fame) placing second, and his teammate Carrie Simpson (FMT’15) finishing third.
In the alumni category, Jacob Morin from “Team No Name” took Top Crops Individual Judge and Top Overall Individual Judge, while Marc-André Dubois received Top Livestock Individual Judge. Special ribbons were presented for two of the more significant team judging classes for the alumni category – haylage and dairy. “Team No Name” won the silage class, as well as Top Crops and Top Livestock Judging Team, finishing with the Overall Alumni Team Trophy. The dairy class was won by the aptly named “Mac’s Finest” alumni team.
And the overall winner is…
Between courses and presentations, door prizes from sponsors were drawn, followed by the presentation of team judging certificates. In the livestock category, a variety of teams from Mac, Guelph, and Laval took top honours, making it difficult to predict who would win overall. In the end, “Bobby and the Babes” took home the Marcel Couture Cup for Top Livestock Judging Team, with “McGill A” and the “Beef Eaters” team from Laval coming in second and third respectively.
In the Crops division, the “Master Breeders” from Guelph, and the “Laval A” and “Beef Eaters” teams won most of the classes. The Mike Kavanagh Memorial Cup for Top Crops Judging Team went to the “Master Breeders”, with the “Beef Eaters” and “Bobby and the Babes” close behind.
With much anticipation, the rankings for the overall team judging were announced by MC Mathieu Rouleau. Teams from Macdonald Campus placed seventeenth, fourteenth, thirteenth, tenth, second and first, beating out teams from ITA La Pocatière, ITA St-Hyacinthe, University of Guelph, and Université Laval, as well as 4-H and alumni teams. The “Bobby and the Babes” team made up of Bobby Tolhurst, Carrie Simpson, Ashlie Hardy, and Ariane France (B.Sc.AES’17) won the Macdonald Judging Club Trophy with 3075 points, 70 points ahead of their fellow Mac students: “McGill A” which was comprised of Stéphanie Bélanger-Naud, Daniel Sutherland (FMT’14), Doug Bryson (FMT’15), and Véronique Boyer (B.Sc.AES’16).
After a judging season that ended in a lot of second-place finishes, the Judging Club was very happy with the results of the 2014 Macdonald Intercollegiate Judging Competition. This was the second year in a row that a Mac team won the competition, after a drought of several years.
Next up is the University of Guelph competition on March 7, where several Mac teams (including “Bobby and the Babes”) are looking to build upon their recent success.