**For Immediate Release**
Another Nationally Recognized Program at OPSU
-released by OPSU Campus Communications 11-03-2006
By Scott Puryear
Goodwell, OK - Oklahoma Panhandle State is noted for being a small university that can accomplish big things, and one of the nationally recognized programs at the school is the very strong Livestock Judging program that competes ten times each year.
Aaron Preator, an OPSU instructor of Animal Science for five years, serves as the team’s coach. The team is involved in judging competitions from January through November and Preator and the members of the team are gearing up for the National Finals, held this year in Louisville, Kentucky on November 11.
OPSU has had a judging program for over half a century and the program operates under the rules and regulations of the National Collegiate Livestock Judging Association. The OPSU teams compete with, and even many times beat, much larger universities like Oklahoma State, Iowa State, Kansas State, and many other Texas and California schools. Preator is optimistic about the teams’ chances in Louisville, thanks to their strong showings this year in competition (including a fourth place finish at the Tulsa event and a third place finish in Dallas).
At each competition, a team’s judging abilities are tested in cattle, sheep, hogs, and sometimes goats. According to Preator, one of the unique things about judging competition is that students can only compete for one year at the university level, so it is a constant rebuilding process to keep a competitive team, which OPSU does on a yearly basis.
Preator, a native of Wyoming, has been involved in livestock judging most of his life, and competed at the collegiate level for Texas Tech. He also stresses the importance of academic excellence to the members of his teams. This year’s team includes Beth Marsh (Fort Lupton, Colorado), Shane Nelson (Verden, Nebraska), Kim Rahe (Pemberville, Ohio), Emily Rowe (Ulysses, Kansas) and Karla Rundell (Gunnison, Colorado).
BIG SCHOOLS BEWARE! Aaron Preator and the Oklahoma Panhandle State Livestock Judging team will be in Louisville in November, and they will be shooting for a high finish in the national finals.