NOC is the National Junior College Livestock Judging Team of the Year.
The Northern Oklahoma College Livestock Judging Team earned a title after being named the High Team Overall at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo on March 19.
This is the first time in school history that the NOC has been named the National Junior College Team of the Year.
The NOC team, under the direction of coach Jennifer Bedwell, won four national livestock judging events, including High Team at The American Royal (Kansas City), North American International Livestock Exhibition (Louisville), The National Western (Denver), and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo (Houston).
In addition, NOC judgers Anna Hannon, Kale Campbell, Olivia Gerloff, and Cooper Thompson were recognized as All-Americans.
“This was an amazing year with an amazing group of kids,” Bedwell said. “They are just amazing, and to see their hard work pay off with Team of the Year is a real blessing for them and this program.”
Bedwell said she had a vision when she recruited this group of sophomores two years ago.
“I looked across the country for the right kids for this program,” she said. “Not just great livestock judgers, but I wanted great students. I wanted kids that would work hard, be driven, be self-motivating, and be leaders among their peers. Those were the type of kids I wanted, and I was so fortunate they said yes to NOC and came here. So in the end, we were able to accomplish our goals.”
When she recruited this group, she had some advice for each one.
“I told them they could clap with us or for us, but the team from NOC would be winning,” she said. “They bought into it from the beginning. Even as first-year students, they were incredibly coachable and made my job easy. I’m very blessed that they chose to come judge for me at NOC.”
Team members include Kale Campbell-Jet, OK; Cooper Thompson- Adair OK, Kash Butler- Grove, OK; Kord Butler- Grove, OK; Doug Hewitt- Cleveland, OK; Sydney Alsip- Verona, KY; Brylee Williams- Princeton, MO, Olivia Gerloff- Bland, MO, Kylee Cannon- Kansas City, MO, Anna Hannon- Rensselaer, IN, Blake Peterson- Remington, IN, Emma Carley- Boise, ID, Hannah McElrath – Calhoun, GA, Parker Fleming, Jasper GA, and Aaron Mahan, Huntsville, AR.
She complimented them on their work ethic.
“It’s extraordinary to see a group of 20 years-old young people that work as hard as they do,” she said. “That’s not common in today’s world, but this group went above and beyond what was expected and accomplished what few teams in history have ever been able to do. Winning four National contests has rarely been done.”
She said this group was different because it learned from success and failure.
“They learned from each contest, and that’s so important,” she said. “There have been a lot of wins but losses as well. This group of 15 did what few junior college judging teams can, and that’s to learn from a loss and improve. They could’ve given up many times, but always persevered and succeeded.”
The NOC Livestock Judging Program succeeded before Bedwell’s arrival, but those top ten finishes are championship finishes.
“I believe NOC can always attract the type of student/livestock judger that can compete nationally,” she said. “We have proven it at Northern this year, and I think we can stay competitive on the national stage.”
“This is an incredible group of young people,” said NOC President Clark Harris. “I have been very fortunate to work with these students during their time at NOC. My first interactions with them were at the Agriculture Division Retreat before their first semester at NOC.”
Harris continued, “You see the leadership they provide as they work with the 4-H and FFA kids that came to compete at the livestock judging camps and livestock shows on campus. They helped to host the NOC Ag Interscholastic competitions that brought in around 800 high school students. They always act with a high level of professionalism and are great students and active on campus. It only fits that this great group of young people is the nation’s top team. I am very proud of Coach Jennifer Bedwell for her hard work and the team. Their individual and team successes are amazing.”
“We are elated at our Livestock Judging Team’s success this year,” said NOC Division Chair for Agriculture and Biological Sciences Tricia Moore. “This team has been highly motivated since they arrived in Tonkawa two years ago as freshmen and haven’t slowed down.”
“They are a great group of students that have performed as well in the classroom as they have in the livestock arena,” Moore added. “Having four members of this team named as All-American recipients speak volumes for our Agriculture program at NOC and our institution. We couldn’t be more pleased.”
Team awards at the Houston Livestock and Rodeo included High Team Overall, High Team Placings, Second High Team Oral Reasons, Second High Team Beef, Second High Team Swine, and Third High Team Sheep and Goats.
Individual awards included Anna Hannon (Number one All-American, Second High Individual Overall, High Individual Sheep and Goats, Sixth High Individual Reasons, Eighth High Individual Beef, Olivia Gerloff (Number seven All-American, Fourth High Individual Overall, Third High Individual Placings, Second High Individual Brahman, Sixth High Individual Beef, Sixth High Individual Goats), Kale Campbell (Number six All-American, Ninth High Individual Overall, Second High Individual Sheep, Ninth High Individual Beef, Sixth High Individual Brahman), and Cooper Thompson (Number nine All-American).