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On June 30th, the American Guernsey Youth Association held their annual awards dinner as a part of the National Guernsey Convention and 141st Annual Meeting in Saratoga Springs, New York. The celebration honored youth from across the country for their accomplishments in production as well as their participation in the week’s many youth competitions. The event was hosted by Andrew Coon and the 2016 Guernsey Royalty, Queen Stefani Evers and Princess Cara Trotter.

The first awards presented were for achievements in production. Any cow that completed a record in 2016 and is owned by a junior member of the American Guernsey Association is eligible for production awards. Individual cow winners were owned by Kaila and Karli Stoltzfus of Pennsylvania, Chelsey Jensen of Wisconsin and Esther Ripley of New York. The Group of Three awards were presented to Kaila and Karli Stoltzfus of Pennsylvania and Elizabeth and Esther Ripley of New York. Receiving the title of National Junior Gold Star Breeders were Lauren Robison of Illinois, Daniel, Elizabeth and Esther Ripley of New York, Chelsey Jensen of Wisconsin, and Christa and Dalan Ealy of Pennsylvania. Receiving the title of National Junior Progressive Breeders were Esther and Daniel Ripley of New York. The annual Guernsey Gold Production Contest winners were also announced. The Guernsey Gold contest begins when junior members purchase selected Guernsey Gold heifers in sales across the nation. The winners are based on the animal’s first lactation protein record. This year’s winner, Kolby Stoltzfus, East Earl, Pennsylvania, received $1,358.00. Second place was Jenny McKenna of New York; third place went to Amber Kirk of Pennsylvania and fourth place went to John Myers III of Maryland.

The next awards presented were for the youth competitions that took place during the week of the National Convention. The folding display contest consists of creating a folding display that is on display throughout the week. This year, there was 21 displays total. The winners were: Junior Division, Rylann Maxwell of Florida with “Whole versus Skim;” Intermediate Division, Mary Richardson of Ohio with “Which makes better plastic?;” Senior Division, Emma Weisensel of Wisconsin with “Reading Pedigrees.”

The photo contest consists of presenting a photo that is also on display for the week of convention. There are no age divisions in the photo contest. There were 17 photo entries competing this year and the winner was Adrian Whitling from Pennsylvania. The photo contest also includes a People’s Choice Award, which is voted on by Convention attendees. Whitling also received this honor. Second place went to Emily Church of Iowa and Whitney Yerina of Missouri received third place.

The video contest is the newest addition to the youth contests and just requires applicants to create a video that promotes Guernseys. This year’s winner was Rebecca Holcomb, and second place went to Austin Holcomb, both of Florida.

Quiz bowl consists of junior and senior divisions, with teams of four competing head-to-head to show off their knowledge of Guernseys and the dairy industry. Six senior teams participated. The winning team was “FlOhio,” coached by Chris Holcomb with team members Kate Sherman, Jacob McGehee, Hunter Fioretto and Michael Fioretto. Second place went to “Pennsylvania Blue,” coached by Melissa Kohler with team members Dalan Ealy, Jacob Poole, Ayla Blatt and Christa Ealy. The MVP of the senior division was Kristen Gallagher of New York. Seven junior teams competed in quiz bowl. The winning team was “Pennsylvania Blue,” coached by Melissa Kohler with team members Mackenzie Blatt, Conner Ealy, Andrew Blauser and Ben Pifer. Second place went to “Florida 2,” coached by Chris Holcomb with team members Austin Holcomb, Makenzie Greaves, Nick Hammer and Isabella Becerra. MVP of the junior division was Makenzie Blatt.

The National Guernsey Convention offers two speaking contests, Prepared Public Speaking and Extemporaneous Speaking. Prepared speakers must provide a speech topic before convention and then give that speech. The winners of each division presented their speeches at the adult awards dinner on June 28. The junior division winner was Austin Holcomb of Florida. Intermediate winner was Mackenzie Blatt of Pennsylvania. Senior winner was Jamie Trotter of Pennsylvania. Extemporaneous speakers are given a choice of three topics, and then have 30 minutes to prepare a speech. Junior winner was Austin Holcomb of Florida, intermediate winner was Ayla Blatt of Pennsylvania and senior winner was Jamie Trotter of Pennsylvania.

Lauren Robison

After the production and contest awards, four scholarships were awarded to Guernsey junior members enrolled in college. The National Guernsey Youth Scholarship is given annually by the American Guernsey Association and was awarded to Michael Fioretto of Florida. The Seth and Genevieve Schnebly Memorial Scholarship is given to a student who shows a commitment to the Guernsey breed by regularly attending conventions, amongst other criteria, and was awarded to Lauren Robison of Illinois. The Max Dawdy Scholarship is awarded to a junior member seen most deserving in the areas of Guernsey activities and accomplishments, scholastic potential, community and school achievements as well as career goals. The 2017 Max Dawdy Scholarship winner was Andrew Coon of New York. The Turley Scholarship is given to honor Ralph and Martha Turley, and applicants must have exhibited at a National Guernsey Show in the past three years. The winner of the Turley Scholarship was Lauren Robison of Illinois.

Once the scholarships were complete and 2016 National Guernsey Queen, Stefani Evers, gave her final address, it was time to announce the 2017 royalty. Queen contestants came from seven different states. First, Kate Sherman of Ohio was named Miss Congeniality. Next, Ellie Wantland of Missouri was crowned the National Guernsey Princess. To round out the coronation, Lauren Robison of Illinois was crowned the 2017 National Guernsey Queen.

The final award presented was the National Outstanding Guernsey Youth award, the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a junior Guernsey member. The recipient was Chelsey Jensen of Wisconsin. Daniel Ripley of New York was named the runner up.

Following the celebration, convention-goers participated in the annual Youth Fun Auction, which raised over $8,000 for the American Guernsey Youth Fund.

The American Guernsey Association is based in Columbus, Ohio and is dedicated to the advancement and promotion of Guernsey dairy cows and products.