New Bremen Dairy Team Ranked 2nd In State

Staff Writer

NEW BREMEN — On April 26, students of the New Bremen FFA Dairy Judging Team walked away from the Ohio Dairy Cattle Finals in Columbus with their heads held highs.
Out of 15 teams, New Bremen placed second in the contest, on the tails of their neighbor to the east, Botkins. A 14 point difference was the difference between the two. But their success didn’t stop there as two students on the team also earned spots in the top 10 individually. Marissa Topp took home first place and Abigail Sniegowski took home sixth place. The team is coached by Rachel Topp.
Their ranking as a team means they qualify to judge at the World Dairy Expo later this year.
Judging at the World Dairy Expo won’t be a new experience for Topp as she won Grand Champion last year for her cow Wishful Thinking in the Junior Division of the International Ayershire Show. She will compete with the team, individually and hopes to also compete with her 4-H state team.
Earning such high awards from the state dairy contest isn’t new for the club. In 2018, they placed seventh; 2017, third and in 2016, second. The team has also won state in the past, according to Topp. She hoped to have been a state winner with the team as her brother and mom have been, but the senior is confident the team could place first if they keep working hard.
“I really wanted to win,” she said. “As a senior, I really wanted to win that. We were second my freshman year — we’ve always been up there. Looking back at it now … I know they’re going to get it, they’re going to get it.”
In preparation for the state contest, Topp said the team practiced by visiting local dairy farms and invitationals from other schools. There, classes of cattle were presented to the students and they were able to judge them and practice giving reasons for their judging.
“Pretty much, reasons is just saying how you place them and why you place them the way you did and justifying your reasons on why cow two is over three,” she said. “We spent a lot of time doing that and [the state] added a new team event this year and it was their first year doing it, so we tried to prepare and stuff to get a feel of what we were going to be thrown into.
“There was a lot of preparation for it, we worked really, really hard.”
In order to get to states, New Bremen had to beat out about 400 other students to earn a spot in the top 10. In the preliminary round, the students judged six classes worth 50 points each with five questions about four of the classes. There is also a sire section and a pedigree class included in the six class, Topp added. Only the top 10 individuals and top 10 teams get to move on.
New Bremen started out with nine individuals in the preliminary but only four advanced for the team.
The new event added to the contest this year was very challenging Topp said.
“As far as the team event, the event they added was, it was extremely difficult,” she said. “No one really knew what they were doing; it was our first year doing it. That was the only part that really threw me off. I was kind of like on the border of I don’t know how we did now.
“Overall pretty satisfied. It would’ve been nice to win but if they keep working like they did this year I know they’ll get it.”