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Dairy Judging Contest Chair Dedicates More than 30 Years to Show

Judy BlackJudy Black of Sinking Valley, Blair County, will receive the Image Award at the 53rd All-American Dairy Show, set for September 17-22, at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center in Harrisburg.

The Image Award is presented annually to an individual who has enhanced the image of the All-American Dairy Show with significant contributions to its reputation, prestige and welfare.

"Judy has supported the All-American Dairy Show invitational judging contest for more than three decades," said Agriculture Secretary Russell C. Redding. "It is because of her dedication and vision, the contest has garnered national recognition, and has provided thousands of youth the chance to hone their analytical and communications skills in a competitive situation.

"Youth educational activities are an important component of the All-American experience, and Judy plays a critical role in the success of this prestigious contest and the show itself."

For nearly 50 years, students from across the nation travel to Harrisburg to compete in collegiate, junior collegiate, 4-H or FFA divisions of the Invitational Youth Dairy Cattle Judging Contest. For 31 of those years, Black has volunteered her talents, first as the official contest photographer before stepping into the chairman role 12 years ago.

A life-long resident of Sinking Valley, near Tyrone, where she grew up on a dairy farm, Black's first introduction to the All-American Dairy Show was as a 4-H member competing in the same dairy judging contest that she now manages. She credits that experience as key in establishing her involvement in the show and the dairy industry, and recognizes her 4-H teammates Dale Olver, Cindy Rutter Johnson and Richard Mellinger, as special friends who also all remain involved in the dairy industry.

"This contest means so much to me, and I remember the feeling of being scared and excited as a participant myself," Black said, as she reflected on earning the Image Award as a result of her dedication.

She was quick to acknowledge her fellow volunteers Larry Swartz and Paul Knight who chair the contest's selection committee to choose the cattle for the contest. Her husband of nearly 39 years, William Black, also helps with the contest.

"I love running the contest and am so pleased when people who compete as students come back to volunteer and help with the contest," Black added. "Showing is great, but dairy judging skills last a lifetime."

Black was a livestock photographer for Agri-Graphics for 18 years, before becoming a licensed practical nurse. For the past 13 years, she has cared for patients at the Presbyterian Village, a continuous care facility in Hollidaysburg, Blair County.

Recent Image Award recipients, include:
Ed Pruss, of Lake Ariel, Wayne County in 2015; Gary Hennip of Rome, Bradford County, in 2014; Denise Whiting of Slippery Rock, Butler County, and Steve Cornman of Boiling Springs, Cumberland County, in 2013; Duane and Donna Duncan of Carlisle, Cumberland County, in 2011; David Swartz of Loysville, Perry County, in 2010. Other previous recipients: 2009 Harry Thompson and Kathy Walton, 2008 Dave Smith, 2007 Ken Raney, 2006 David Dunbar, 2005 Janet Harding, 2004 Eugene and Carol Schurman, 2003 John Harris, 2002 Sam Hayes, 2001 Rita Kennedy, 2000 Robert Rugaber, 1999 Don Ace, 1998 Elsie Wolff, 1997 Obie Snider, 1996 Larry Specht, 1995 John Morris, 1994 Steve Spencer, 1993 Lee Yost and John Walker.

Contact the show office at or call 717-787-2905 for more information and to be a part of the 53rd All-American.

Visit to find more details about the All-American Dairy Show. The event features 22 shows in six days in addition to the nation's only all-dairy antiques show. Last year's show featured nearly 3,000 animals and 1,500 exhibitors from around the country.

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