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SDSU Livestock Judging Team member wins national judging contest

"Tyler Bush wins national judging contest"
Tyler Bush, an animal science student from Britton, South Dakota, won high individual overall and high individual in reasons at the National Collegiate Livestock Judging Contest.

South Dakota State University’s Livestock Judging Team member Tyler Bush won the National Collegiate Livestock Judging Contest held at the North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, Kentucky, on November 16. Bush achieved high individual overall and high individual in reasons, competing against students from 19 universities. In addition, the SDSU team placed third overall.

"Picture of the livestock judging team"
The SDSU Livestock Judging Team placed third overall at the National Collegiate Livestock Judging Contest. Pictured (left to right): Brady Jensen (coach), Tyler Bush, Simon Liggett, Tommy Norman, Matthew Chaney, Brooke Skoglund, Lexi Wetzel, Brittany Morgan.

“The national contest is the longest running and most prestigious contest in all of livestock judging competitions,” said Brady Jensen, the SDSU Livestock Judging Team Coach. “Our team had the most successful season in recent history and went out on a high note at the national contest.”

“To win high individual overall and high individual in reasons at the National Collegiate Livestock Judging Contest is something I can’t exactly explain,” said Bush, an animal science student from Britton, South Dakota. “The time, dedication and determination it took the last decade or so is unmeasurable. Winning that day was a moment of satisfaction, knowing that all the time and effort I’ve put into judging had finally paid off.”

Bush is only the third individual in SDSU history to win the national contest. The other national champions were Leon Spronk in 1974 and Gary TeStroete in 1962.

“From day one of practice, Tyler was driven to be the best and did everything in his power to prepare for each competition,” Jensen said.

The 2020 team members include: Bush; Simon Liggett, animal science student from Mount Solon, Virginia; Matthew Chaney, animal science student from Libertytown, Maryland; Tommy Norman, animal science student from Luverne, Minnesota; Brooke Skoglund, animal science student from Hecla, South Dakota; Lexi Wetzel, agricultural business student from Faribault, Minnesota; and Brittany Morgan, animal science student from Morgan, Utah. The team is coached by Brady Jensen.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better group of friends turned into family to be alongside me in my journey at SDSU,” Bush said. “Our goals were simple, they were big and we knew they were achievable. All we needed was for one another to believe and for Brady to lead us and in the end we reached our goals and accomplished dreams that wouldn’t have been possible without Brady, each other and the support from everyone along the way.”

Other notable finishes for the SDSU team at the national contest include:

  • Team: first high team in sheep and goats, fifth high team in cattle and fifth high team in reasons
  • Tyler Bush: third high individual in sheep and goats, fourth high individual in hogs, eighth high individual in cattle
  • Matthew Chaney: first high individual in sheep and goats, 14th overall
  • Tommy Norman: 23rd overall
  • Brooke Skoglund: 38th overall
  • Simon Liggett: 40th overall

“The 2020 judging team’s drive and passion for this activity enabled them to put SDSU in the national spotlight,” Jensen said. “As this group kicked off their year last fall, they set extremely high goals, which most would have thought were unattainable, but their commitment to each other and their work ethic was like none I have ever witnessed, and it paid off.”

The team dedicated 20-40 hours to practicing each week during the spring and fall semesters to achieve their goals. They competed in 11 contests since the start of the season in January and the national contest concludes their season.