Steamboat Springs Routt County 4-H members edged out Elbert County to win the senior division of the livestock judging contest Saturday at the Routt County Fairgrounds. It was the team's first victory and seventh contest of the year.
Catharine Koroulis, who won the state contest last year, came in first. The 16-year-old Steamboat Springs High School student said she had a lucky day. That luck landed her three belt buckles.
Koroulis won the overall individual competition, her group won the team competition and she won the reasons competition. The senior 4-H members had to rank beef, sheep and swine in 12 classes, and they had to give oral reasons for six of those groups.
Competition has been tough this year, Koroulis said. She also won the Elbert County competition. Placing the animals in the correct order by quality sometimes is challenging for Koroulis, whose family isn't in the livestock industry.
"I'm kind of a talker, so I really like it," she said about the oral arguments portion. "For placings, like I said, we're not in the livestock industry, so I just do my best. For reasons, you go in and tell the judge what you think for a couple minutes, so that's kind of fun."
Rod Wille and Rod Olinger coach the Routt County team. The youths are peaking at the right time, Wille said. The state contest is June 25 in Fort Collins.
"This is the time of year they need to start placing higher in the contest," Wille said. "We want to go to Louisville."
Fifteen to 17 teams probably will compete in the state contest, Wille said. The winning team competes nationally in Kentucky this fall, and the winning U.S. team competes globally in Scotland.
If they snag second, they'll go to Kansas City, Mo., this fall, and a third-place finish would put them in Denver in January.
Koroulis was optimistic.
"We have a really, really good team, and we're all pretty much best friends," she said. "And we love the coaches, too."
Morgan Hatfield, Ian Fralick, Anna Brown and Austin Carnahan also competed on the team.
The junior team, which included 4-H members ages 8 to 13, came in second to Rio Blanco County. Taylore Wille, Cole and Mackenzie Carnahan, Abbey and Belle Horn and Tia Rozell competed.
Only seniors will head to Fort Collins.
"I think we've got a little momentum going into the state contest now," Rod Wille said. Elbert came in second, and La Plata County came in third.