A team of Kenai Peninsula teenagers represented the Alaska Livestock Team at the 2018 Western National Roundup in Denver, Colorado.
The team was the first Alaska Livestock Team to compete at a National Livestock Quiz Bowl, which team member Colton Rankin describes as “family feud, but with livestock questions.”
Questions test basic knowledge of livestock —identifying tweeds, breeds, hay, cuts of meat, meat equipment and other livestock-related information.
Last year, the Alaska Livestock team attended another competition in Louisville, Kentucky, which was the first time the Alaska team had competed nationally.
Students are only allowed to compete once in each of the four segments for the national competition, which include quiz bowl, public speaking, skillathon and livestock judging.
It was Destiny Martin’s first year competing with the team. She said competing nationally her first year was amazing.
“I was doing what I loved,” Martin said. “It was awesome.”
The team went three rounds into the double elimination competition. In the end, the team from Alaska lost to Colorado and South Dakota, but won in a landslide against Texas, eventually placing sixth out of nine teams.
“We beat Texas and it was literally the best feeling,” Martin said.
Cassandra Rankin, the team’s coach, said it was a big win for a state that is considered so small in the world agricultural and farming.
“In Alaska, we’re used to being such a large state, but in the agricultural world they are very small,” Cassandra Rankin said.
Colton Rankin said it was neat to talk to kids from across the country about raising livestock.
“We got to talk a lot to 4-H’ers from South Dakota and Colorado about the differences in raising livestock up here in Alaska and down in the Lower 48,” Colton Rankin said.
Coach Cassandra said the trip allowed the opportunity for the students to experience new things, like learning how to country line dance, and how to ride on public transportation.
“We had our first trip on a public transportation bus,” Colton Rankin said.
“We were stuck at a bus stop for like an hour,” Gracie Rankin, a tea member, said. “But it was fun.”
Cassandra Rankin said the team set the goal to compete at a national quiz bowl event almost five years ago.
“It was a really neat thing to see them be able to attain their goal,” she said. It was neat for our new members as well. It kind of got every fired up to do it again in other areas.”
The team hasn’t decided if they will compete at nationals again, or which segment they want to compete in next year.
Two 4-H alumni traveled with the group to Denver to support the team.
The team is gearing up for their next contest, which will be a state contest in May in Palmer.