At the 32nd annual North American 4-H Dairy Quiz Bowl Contest, held at the famous North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, Kentucky on Saturday, November 5, 17 teams were in attendance.
“Yes!,” Wisconsin’s Ethan Dado cheered, with arms flung above his head; his fast math skills allowing him to calculate the final score before it was even announced. Wisconsin’s Polk County four-person dairy quiz bowl team topped the competition in their first national contest competition.
The Dairy Bowl program encourages youth to increase their dairy knowledge as they prepare for the contest. They learn life skills – critical thinking, decision-making, problem solving, communication skills, and independent thinking – when preparing for competition. They also gain knowledge in dairy nutrition, milk quality, herd health, breeding and genetics, marketing, dairy foods, and calf raising. Dairy bowls have an extensive reach at the local, state, and national level.
Polk County’s senior dairy bowl team topped the state 4-H Dairy Quiz Bowl Contest in February, earning the right to represent Wisconsin at the national contest. They outperformed 13 other senior teams, consisting of youth between the ages of 15 and 19. The Polk County team members are Bethany and Ethan Dado of Amery, Brett Getschel and Chris Rassier, both of Osceola. Sending the winning county team makes Wisconsin unique. Most states select their top four 4-Hers as their representatives. Wisconsin, and Polk county had an advantage this year. Team members aren’t just acquaintances, they know each other’s strengths, and genuinely like each other. It is hard to create a new “team” each year with youth from across the state who may have never even met each other. They might be a team in name, but not necessarily in spirit.
Their coach, Patti Hurtgen announced, “I love this team’s energy! They each bring unique skill-sets that mesh well with each other. And the best part is that they have a lot of fun together. There is no member who holds themselves in higher regard. They win as a team, they take defeat as a team. No finger-pointing, no blaming, just “we’ll be ready next time.”
The sources and materials used to form question are nearly endless, as new information and dairy research is conducted daily.
The national 4-H contest is different than many breed dairy bowl contests. A 50 question (short-answer) written test is taken the night before the contest and counts the next day. Scores from five questions from each team member is tallied for each round, for a possible 100 points per round. However, the actual scores that the team earned on the test are not known. Only the two scorekeepers are privy to those numbers until they are revealed after the team and toss-up questions have been answered. Another set of points is earned when answering the discussion questions. During this time, team members can discuss their answers to five questions and the team captain provides the group’s collaborative answers to the panel of three judges. The 20 toss-up questions are when the individual team members can buzz in and showcase their areas of knowledge. After three different team members correctly answer a question, a four-part bonus question is offered to that team only. If all parts are correct a maximum of 20 points are rewarded. If segments are correct, partial credit it given. The judges are all university professors or dairy extension specialists.