The 2015 Junior Sheep & Goat Skillathon will be held Sunday, May 3 at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival. The festival is always held the first full weekend in May at the Howard County Fairgrounds in West Friendship. Registration starts at 8 a.m. The contest starts at 9 a.m. Awards are given at approximately 1 p.m. A small donation is requested to cover the cost of lunch (pizza + sodas).

A skillathon provides youth with the opportunity to blend knowledge and skills acquired in livestock judging, demonstrations, and care and exhibition of animals into a single activity. It consists of a series of stations where youth are tested on their knowledge and abilities related to livestock. In the Sheep & Goat Skillathon, all stations will pertain to sheep and/or goats.

Smelling haylage Feed identification

The Junior Sheep and Goat Skillathon is open to any youth between the ages of 8 and 18. Individuals and teams (of 3 or 4) from any county, state, or province may compete. Youth compete according to their age as of January 1st of the current year. Youth ages 8 to 10 compete as juniors; youth ages 11 to 13 compete as intermediates; and youth 14 to 18 compete as seniors.

The Maryland Sheep Breeders Association provides ribbons and premiums to the top ten individuals in each age division and festival t-shirts to the members of the top three teams in each age division. Additional awards are provided by the University of Maryland Extension Small Ruminant Program.

Pre-registration (especially for teams) is requested by April 28. To register, contact Susan Schoenian at or (301) 432-2767 x343.

Winners hail from three states

2014 was the first year in which goats were added to the skillathon stations. The name of the Skillathon was changed from Sheep & Wool to Sheep & Goat.

The 2014 Sheep & Goat Skillathon was held May 4 at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival. This year's winners represented three states.

The 1st place junior was Lizzy Miller from Montgomery County, Maryland. The 1st place intermediate was Mckenzie Ashby from Virginia. The 1st place senior was Lydia Smith from Vermont.

2014 skillathon winners
2014 Winners (L-R): Lizzy Miller, Mckenzie Ashby, and Lydia Smith  

The 2nd place junior was Chet Boden from Virginia. The 3rd place junior was Edy McDougal from Washington County. The top junior team was from Frederick County. Team members included Kiandra Strickhouser, Jessica Martin, and Caroline Clark. Washington County had the second place junior team: Edey McDougal, Marlie Snyder, and Addison Snyder.

Second place intermediate Kallam Latham tied for 1st place with 433 points; but tie was broken by written test scores. Kallam was last year's top junior. The 3rd place junior was Caleb Boden from Virginia. The top intermediate team was from Virginia. Team  members included Caleb Boden, Haley Seabright, and Mckenzie Ashby. The second place intermediate team was from Frederick County:  Kallam Latham, Kariana Strickhouser, and Laura Dutton.

Only one point separated the first and second place seniors. Emily Soils from Charles County, Maryland, placed 2nd. John Hancock, also from Charles County, placed 3rd. Brietta Latham, last year's top intermediate placed 4th.The top senior team was from Virginia. Team members included Courtney Walls, Matt Ferrari, and Evan Lineweaver. Frederick County has the second place senior team:  Brietta Latham, Ian Sanville, and Ray Martin IV.

The 2014 skillathon included the following stations:

Special thanks is extended to all the volunteers and extension workers who assisted with this year's skillathon.

Study Resources for Skillathons

Oklahoma State University Sheep Breeds
Sheep Breeds A-Z
Purdue Forage Identification Pages
Evaluating hay quality
Calculating Adjusted Weaning Weights
Sheep Evaluation, Selection and Judging learning module
A Glossary of Wool Terms
Grades and Lengths of Grease Wool
Wool Grading
Wool Judging for Beginners
An introduction to wool judging [PPT]
Judging wool and mohair
Sheep Diseases A-Z
Lamb cuts and what to do with them
Lamb cuts and how to cook them [PDF]

      Online Quizzes

Last updated on 13-Apr-2015 by Susan Schoenian.