GONZALES, La. - Six exceptional Louisiana youths were recognized Saturday (Feb. 16) for their knowledge, skills and communication abilities as they were named winners of the Gerry Lane Premier Exhibitor Award at the 78th annual LSU AgCenter Livestock Show at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center here.
For the past 15 years the premier exhibitor program has recognized 4-H and FFA members who may not have champion animals but who have a thorough understanding of animal science.
"The awards are based on performance in tests of each youth's knowledge of the livestock industry, practical exercises demonstrating skills and the ability to communicate effectively," said Dwayne Nunez, LSU AgCenter livestock show manager.
Program participants have to pass an exam, take part in a skill-a-thon, write an essay, prepare a resume and show poise and confidence during an interview with livestock show officials, Nunez said.
The winning youths were among 30 finalists and scores of contestants in the program, which recognizes outstanding livestock exhibitors in six categories - beef cattle, dairy cattle, poultry, sheep, goats and swine.
"The premier exhibitor program definitely is about the young people rather than prize-winning animals," said LSU AgCenter Vice Chancellor Paul Coreil. "It recognizes them for their skills and abilities, as well as their commitment and hard work."
Through an endowment from Gerry Lane Enterprises of Baton Rouge, the top winner in each premier exhibitor category received a $500 cash award, a commemorative belt buckle and a monogrammed jacket. The other four finalists in each category were awarded trophies.
This year's top winners in the LSU AgCenter's Gerry Lane Premier Exhibitor Program are:
- Beef Premier Exhibitor - Abigail Jenkins, St. Tammany 4-H
- Dairy Premier Exhibitor - Brady Brian, East Feliciana 4-H
- Goat Premier Exhibitor - Trent Dugas, Iberia 4H
- Poultry Premier Exhibitor - Connor Waits, Vermilion 4H
- Sheep Premier Exhibitor - Dustin Rogers, St. Mary 4H
- Swine Premier Exhibitor - Emily Chauvin, St. Mary 4-H
Other finalists in this year's premier exhibitor program, by category and in order of placing, are:
Beef - second - Kealy Stelly, Lafayette 4-H; third - Kirsten Midkiff, Beauregard 4-H; fourth - Kelli Lucas, Rapides 4-H; fifth - Kerrigan Fitch, Iberia 4-H
Dairy - second - Keirstyn Sonnier, Lincoln 4-H; third - Garrett Gardner, East Feliciana 4-H; fourth - Rebecca Pearce, Pointe Coupee 4-H; fifth - Michael Landry, Assumption 4-H
Goats - second -Sarah Lyons, Lafayette 4H; third -Sophie Fletcher, Livingston 4H; fourth - Ashley Gotreaux, Jeff Davis 4H; fifth -Luke Patin, St. Martin 4H.
Poultry - second - Tommy Renick, Caddo 4H; third - Kalie Beckers, Tangipahoa 4H; fourth - Viki-Dawn Landry, Ascension 4H; fifth -Jonathan Boudreaux, St. Martin 4H.
Sheep - second - Avery Boudreaux, Iberia 4H; third - Garrett Ortego, Acadia, 4H; fourth - Eden Schexnayder, Ascension 4H; fifth - Chance Hebert, Lafourche 4H.
Swine - second - Avery Boudreaux, Iberia 4-H; third - Kerrigan Fitch, Iberia 4-H; fourth - David Kershaw, Calcasieu 4-H; fifth - Clint Welch, Cameron 4-H