Cow-judging champ Laura Finley with her coaches, Brian Kelroy (right) and Chad Wethal.
Cow-judging champ Laura Finley with her coaches Brian Kelroy (left) and Chad Wethal.

Students from America’s Dairyland are the best in the nation at judging dairy cows. That was proven last week when the UW-Madison team swept the National Intercollegiate Dairy Judging Contest at World Dairy Expo. The UW students took first place as a team—for the 11th time—both in the overall competition and in reasons, the crucial part of the competition in which contestants explain their rationale for ranking the cows as they did. UW students also had the highest individual scores in both categories: Laura Finley (highest score overall) and teammate Cassie Endres (highest score for reasons). The champion team also included Mackenzie Cash and Mariah Fjarlie. The team was coached by Brian Kelroy and Chad Wethal, both UW team alumni.

Each participant in the contest judges 12 classes of four cows. For each class, the contestant has to rank the four cows from best to worst. They have to remember details about all 48 cows until the end of the event, when they meet with panels of judges to give the reasons for their rankings.

2014 Collegiate High Team-Madison
Members of the High Team at the 94th National Intercollegiate Dairy Cattle Judging Contest included (left to right) Brian Kelroy (coach), Laura Finley, Cassie Endres, Mackenzie Cash, Mariah Fjarlie and Chad Wethal (coach). Photo courtesy of Agri-Graphics.