All American Legacy
Thursday, June 10, 2021
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The lights dim as the master of ceremonies moves to the podium, the heels of his square-toe boots the only sound audible across the banquet hall. Anxious competitors watch his every movement in anticipation of the names he is about to read.
Members of the Oklahoma State University Livestock Judging Team sit around their table,
all eyes on the man as he begins to describe the legacy of the All American title.
The All American title exists to recognize some of the most talented, competitive students in the agricultural industry, said Parker Henley, OSU Livestock Judging Team coach.
All Americans are recognized in the collegiate livestock, meat, horse and dairy judging disciplines.
“Being recognized as an All American is like the icing on the cake for a competitor,” said Morgan Pfeiffer, OSU alumna and All American in both livestock and meat judging. “If selected, you are recognized for your academic and competition successes.”
The qualifications for becoming an All American vary by discipline, but overall selection is based upon performance in the classroom and/or arena, said Steven Cooper, OSU Horse Judging Team coach.
Team members take a full load of courses, spend hours at practice, and begin to understand time management, he added.
“We require our team members to be dedicated to their studies as we travel through the country going to contests,” Cooper said. “They leave the team understanding how to balance responsibilities.”
To be named an All American in horse judging, a team member must be a top 10 finalist at the national contests and maintain a 3.5 GPA.
“Being recognized as an All American is no easy feat,” said Gretchen Mafi, OSU Meat Judging Team coach.
Since the American Meat Science Association began recognizing All Americans in 2007, Mafi has witnessed 23 of her students achieve the accomplishment, she said.
“Meat judging is so competitive,” Mafi said. “Being an All American is so impactful for the students’ careers because employers understand the difficulty of the competition.”
To become an All American meat judge, results from a competitor’s two highest contest placings, placings at the international contest and GPA are taken into account, Mafi said.
Livestock judging All Americans are selected through applications.
“The process to become an All American livestock judge begins in the summer,” Henley said. “Students submit their applications to the All American academic program to be reviewed by a panel of administrators across the country. The students are then evaluated on their judging and academic successes and their future career goals.”
Being involved in a judging team and striving for the national championship title is the opportunity of a lifetime, Pfeiffer said.
“The judging program helps keep team members disciplined and introduces them to so many people,” Pfeiffer said. “While competing at national contests, team members have the opportunity to join a long-lasting legacy of talented individuals.”
Cooper said the All American program is beneficial because it provides interaction with industry professionals, develops public speaking and team working skills, and offers the opportunity to help future career successes.
“All Americans have put forth the effort in the classroom, during workouts and at contests,” Henley said. “The tradition of excellence will continue as OSU Cowboys continue to embrace the All American legacy.”
Story by Karli Fuss, Cowboy Journal staff