Oct. 12 2017 10:05 AM

    Reflecting on the contests, practices, and coaches that helped me succeed.

    Standing on the blue shavings at World Dairy Expo last week competing in my last dairy judging competition is a memory I will never forget. The hours I put into practicing, the coaches that believed in me, and the number of cattle I had evaluated throughout my youth gave me the confidence to do my best that day. Thinking back on my youth career of dairy judging, I am grateful for the development of dairy judging and all the people who dedicate their time and energy into coaching, officiating, and running the contests.

    I started dairy judging in 4-H at around age 9. When my older brother went to practice, so did me and my sister. I can still remember my 4-H dairy leader and judging coach telling me at one morning practice to use the words “higher” or “taller” rather than just describing one cow. His ideals on the perfect cow still help me today when evaluating classes. I may have disliked giving reasons when I was young, and even in high school, but throughout my time judging in college I learned how to justify my decision and be confident in it. Giving reasons became my favorite part of the contest.

    With my collegiate judging team, I competed at six contests throughout the nation and traveled to eight states practicing and competing. This alone was amazing; seeing all the different operations and elite cattle was an eye-opening experience. It was an honor to represent my school and judge on the colored shavings for the national contest.

    Although my youth dairy judging career is over, I plan to coach and help youth in the future, just like those who took time to teach me about judging. Thank you to all who helped me along the way from those who talked cows with me to all of my coaches. I will miss competing in the contests, but am excited to see where my love for evaluating cattle will take me next.
    Elise Regusci

    Elise Regusci grew up on her family's farm in Modesto, Calif. Regusci attends Cal Poly University, majoring in dairy science with an agricultural communication minor. On campus, she is the Los Lecheros Dairy Club Ag Council representative and a member of the Cal Poly dairy judging team. Regusci is the current Brown Swiss Youth Ambassador and is the 2017 Hoard's Dairyman summer editorial intern.