It's our judges that make this site the valuable learning tool that it is. We are so grateful for the time and experience that they share with this site. Let's meet them!
Gail was born in 1940 and was raised on a diversified farm/ranch. He showed beef steers, heifers, and swine through FFA, exhibiting numerous grands and reserves, including the 1958 Houston grand champion beef heifer.
Gail is a graduate of Hico High School and Texas Tech University, and has a masters degree in Administration and Education from Tarleton State University, Stephenville, Texas. He taught high school agriculture and was a FFA advisor for 35 years, the last 29 at Stephenville, Texas.
Gail has bred and sold show steers, heifers, breeding swine and show pigs, and in 1979 started Christian's Show Lambs. He added Boer breeding goats and market wethers to the program in the mid 90's. He has sold sheep and goats into 48 states and 7 foreign countries, conducted spring and fall lamb and goat sales for years, also adding a bred ewe sale. In addition, he consigned to the Mid-West Stud Ram Sale and Top Of Rockies for a number of years. Gail bred and sold lambs for 10 years before consigning to his first sale, which was the Corp. sale in Oklahoma where he had the highest selling individual and highest average on 10 head. Gail marketed around 2,000 show lambs each year for a number of years and the last year in business marketed over 3,500 goats.
In addition to his successful breeding carrier, Gail conducted a very active FFA chapter at Stephenville. His teams won District leadership sweepstakes for 29 consecutive years and qualified 27 FFA livestock judging teams for state, won Area IV judging sweepstakes 17 times, and state sweepstakes 11 times. He also qualified 7 teams for Nationals in Range & Pasture judging. Gail also had one of the most active FFA livestock show programs in the State, with students showing dairy, beef, swine, horses, sheep, and goats.
Gail judged several shows as a young teacher, but after becoming so heavily involved in breeding and selling lambs and goats, he quit judging because he thought it was a conflict of interest. He only started back judging after retiring and selling the business. Gail has since judged over 250 shows, mainly sheep and goats, in 15 states over the last 5 years.
He also does a lot of volunteer work for his church. He now resides in Fort Worth, Texas, mainly because he wanted to watch a little grandson grow up and to be an active part of his life. Fort Worth is the hometown of his wife, Becky. Gail says, "I love advising young people, not only with their show animals but with their Spiritual life as well. I fully support Crystal and her effort in developing this Online Judging Contest."
Sam Funk, partner in the All-American Lambs flock (www.greatlambs.com), was one of the kids that grew up thinking that everyone went to the State Fair for vacation. Family trips consisted of walking through cattle pastures and heading off to shows and sales. With some of the first Chianina-influenced cattle in the 1970’s, Sam’s family thought livestock were an adventure. While he may not have visited Disney World until he was a father, he still thinks that a good livestock show will compete with Mickey and friends any day.
Sam started off with Southdowns and then soon Dorset, Suffolk, and Montadale sheep joined the farm. Larry Mead once said that the “preacher boy had every breed of sheep he could afford.” (You’ll pick up all sorts of nicknames growing up around characters like Larry Mead!) Around 1984 the Midwest Stud Ram Sale started selling the “wether sires” and that started a new direction in the family flock. Craig VanArkel consigned one of the first wether sires and that ram caught the eye of Sam’s sister. The family started raising and selling numerous local fair champions in mid-Missouri. Although that ram ended up being sold to Ray Rust in Texas – another long and very interesting story – the family continued to push toward the production of wethers.
By this time, Kristin Funk’s little brother had also been drug off to join the local Boone County Missouri 4-H livestock judging team because they needed 3 people to compete. Sam placed 30th in the state competition that year and thought if he’s going to be forced to do this he might as well practice and try the next. He placed 3rd the following year, then 2nd (you get the picture), and never looked back as he ended up judging competitively for the University of Missouri on both the Dairy Cattle and Livestock Judging Teams. Probably one of the few people to place in the top 10 in Collegiate Dairy Cattle competitions one year and then in Livestock the next year, Sam has had a number of opportunities to judge livestock across the U.S.
In 1994 Sam sold all of the sheep and got back in with some purchases of ewes in 1995 because once sheep are in your blood, they may always be in your blood. One Hubbard-Hogg bred ewe that Sam purchased then became a basis for what is a growing flock today. That same blood can still be found in a number of sheep in the current All-American Lambs flock.
Having earned a Masters degree in Agricultural Economics, Sam took on some career challenges moving from Economist of the Illinois Farm Bureau to the Administrator of the Kansas Farm Management Association Programs at Kansas State University. He enjoyed raising sheep and working with youth so much that along the way he and his wife have come up with five children of their own to join him doing chores. Sam now does chores full time with the sheep having more of his time along with an exciting consulting firm (www.AgServe.com).
The recent addition of 70 stud-quality ewes from Hancock Hampshires has turned the All-American Lambs program into a more significant venture for the partnership. While his business partner had a larger role in the day-to-day operations, Sam is taking on more of those roles as the flock continues to grow. Need something for those kids to do when chore time comes around.
Larry Carter was raised in both Kentucky and Ohio, attending Miami University at Oxford, University of Kentucky, and Eastern Kentucky University where he received his degree in Education with a dual major in Biology. His family farm ran a flock of 300+ western whiteface ewes until the mid 1960's when free ranging dogs made sheep unprofitable in Kentucky. Since the mid 1980's he's raised frame style suffolks, southdowns, and wether-type hampshires, going to hamps as the sole breed in 1991. These sheep have had some success producing Grands and Reserves in 16 states . Larry's flock currently resides in Gonzales Texas in partnership with Wes Davis while he's the shepherd for Mike Hancock in Kentucky.
Larry has judged county shows in three states and one state Fair. In addition, he has taught clinics on showmanship in six states, served as a county 4-H sheep advisor in both Oklahoma and Kentucky counties. He is also a past member of the board of directors for the Kentucky Suffolk Association, Kentucky Club Lamb Association, and several other sheep related advisory boards. Larry was a nominee to the Noble Foundation's team of sheep breeders information exchange team to Russia.
Larry says, "I'm never very comfortable listing personal accomplishments. I let my peers opinions talk for me." His peers would have plenty of positive comments about him!
Vance Christie was born in Rural West Texas. His experience with club lambs began when he was 8 years old and he and his father picked out a pair of ewe lambs to show the next year at the Howard County Stock Show. Outside of the time that he was in college, he has been raising club lambs off and on.
In addition to showing lambs while growing up around Big Spring, TX, Vance showed hogs, steers and even a scramble heifer. Although his projects were diverse, Vance continued to focus his attention on raising and showing lambs. He was very active in judging livestock in 4-H and FFA. His first judging experience was when his County Agent Don Richardson picked him and some of his friends up from school one day, with packed bags, and took them to their first judging contest at age 10. All he can remember being told was to pick the ones with the biggest ears???
After that he was hooked, and judged each year following, attending the State 4-H Contest numerous times as well as judging livestock in high school on the FFA team. This led him to the opportunity to judge in College. After attending Howard College and Texas Tech, he finished his degree in Animal Science (Equine Production) at Tarleton State University, and later received his Masters of Science Teaching Degree from Tarleton as well.
Once he graduated, he worked for the Texas Agricultural Extension Service as a County Agent for 5 years. He served in Deaf Smith, Real, and Mitchell Counties during that time. At the same time he began to assemble a flock of club lamb ewes, the beginning of which were primarily Hampshire/Suffolk type ewes he would buy off the floor at local stock shows. Around 1995 he purchased a set of aged ewes from Gail Christian and in 1996 increased the flock with ewes purchased from a local flock that was being dispersed in the Texas Hill Country. Around 1998 he began to raise some show goats as well.
In 1999, John Kearney and Lynn Walling convinced Vance to move back to Big Spring and coach the Howard College Livestock Judging Team. His most exciting success as a coach came when the Howard College Team won the Sheep Division at the North American Livestock Exposition in Louisville, Ky.
At the same time while judging numerous county shows and jackpots, Vance was called to fill in for John Kearney to judge the Ft. Worth Meat Goat Show. That opened the door for him to begin to judge lambs and goats on the state level. He has since judged goats at Ft. Worth two additional times and at Houston. He has had the opportunity to sort the breeding sheep at the State Fair of Texas and the prestigious Open and Jr. shows at the San Antonio Livestock Expo.
He has also judged county fairs in New Mexico and Arizona and was honored to judge the lambs and goats at the Arizona State Fair in 2006.
During this time, due to time constraints and the lack of room at his new residence, the lamb flock was liquidated, and the goats were sold to his brother, who raised show wethers until 2007 when that flock was sold. In 2002, Vance, his wife Amy and two children Tanner and Tatum were able to purchase a larger farm with additional access to grazing. It was not long until he began purchasing ewes again and was back in the business of raising club lambs. The first set was a set of bred ewes that came from Guy Glasscock and were all either daughters or carrying the services of his legendary Venum buck. Additions were made to the flock from Dwayne Hurliman, Rex Cole, and a small set of finewool ewes from David Whitworth. The primary genetics of the medium wool ewes in the flock trace back to Bradley Johnson, Dynamite Farms, Hurliman, and Hancock. Since 2006 the lambs have been exclusively out of their Caesar grandson, Cassius, that was purchased from KNC.
Del Petersen was born in Petaluma California in 1943 and was raised on an egg production ranch. He went to Petaluma High and was a member of a very active FFA Chapter. Del’s FFA projects included egg layers, steers and market lambs. In 1957 he added 10 Registered Suffolk ewes and a ram to his FFA projects. By 1960 this flock grew to 25 ewes which were shown throughout California. This flock stayed at this level in the town of Cotati while attending Cal Poly
Del attended Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, Ca. From 1960 to 1965. Del was the student shepherd for two years at the Cal Poly sheep unit. The Cal Poly sheep unit at that time had registered flocks of Hampshire, Southdown, and Suffolk sheep. He graduated with a B. S. In Animal Husbandry and a minor in Agricultural Bio Chemistry. He also received his Master degree in Agriculture Education from Cal Poly
September 1965 brought Del to teaching Vocational Agriculture at Santa Maria High in California. There were 127 students in the program. The program grew over the year to over 550 FFA members. Del coached judging teams in Dairy Cattle, Dairy Products, Farm Records, Poultry, Vegetable Crops, Livestock, Meats and Parlimentary Procedure. With all of the teams placing third or better in various years. The teams that went on to national level competition received five gold medals, three silver and three bronze awards. He has had numerous regional and state proficiency award winners. Two students were national proficiency finalists in the areas of Sheep production and Agriculture Sales and Service. His FFA members have attained 42 American degrees and 95 State degrees. Del has received the honorary American FFA degree.
Another highlight is that 13 of his former students have their Agriculture Education teaching credentials. Del had more of his former livestock judging students be on the very competitive Cal Poly (S. L. O.) Livestock Judging teams coached by J. W. (Bill) Jacobs than any other high school. Del retired from teaching after 40 years and now travels and enjoys being involved with sheep and youth.
Del’s sheep transformed from about 45 Registered ewes to up to 300 club lamb type ewes at one time. He now has a flock of about 95 club lamb type ewes. this breeding program can be seen at www.petersenclublambs.com.
Clemente Ayon was raised in Santa Maria, CA where he attended Santa Maria High School. In FFA he showed all species of livestock and won top honors in many market and showmanship classes. He gained a particular interest in club lambs through the guidance of his Ag. Advisor, Del Petersen.
After High School he attended California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo where he judged on the livestock team coached by Clay Weber. During that time he volunteered as a sheep leader for one of the local 4-H clubs. He also began assisting Petersen club Lambs with the day to day operations of raising competitive market lambs. Clemente graduated from Cal Poly with a B.S., M.S. and teaching credential in Agricultural Education.
He is employed as on of four Agriculture Teachers at Santa Maria High School. He coaches a livestock evaluation and dairy products team, as well as the chapter's public speakers. In addition, he supervises the FFA sheep and goat SAE projects.
Currently he and his wife reside in Nipomo, CA where he has been the shepherd for Petersen Club Lambs for 12 years. Through all of his experiences he has had the opportunities to judge state, county and jackpot shows in CA, AZ and OR.
Corey Taylor was raised in Humble Texas where he garduated from Humble High School. Corey Grew up raising and showing sheep state and nation wide. He was very active in competing on his high school livestock judging team winning many different state level contests. He graduated from humble High School in 2007 where he then attended Clarnedon College in Clarendon, TX on a livestock judging scholarship where he was able to obtain many contest wins both as an individual and with his team. In 2008 he was awarded with the honor of All American status in junior college which is awarded to the top 15 livestock judgers in the nation that year.
He then transferred to Texas A&M university where he obtained his bachelors degree in animal science and continued to compete nationally for the Texas A&M livestock judging team. During his tenure on this team he was able to obtain two individual wins at the State fair of Texas and The Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo (ALT). He & His team also strung together 6 national wins that year which made them the winningest team in 2009-2010.
Corey is now an ag teacher in Cypress Texas at Cy Falls High School. Along with this he also owns his own flock of sheep that date themselves back to the popular Hancock "31" and "411" rams that have made tremendous influence in the industry. He runs a small operation 36 head and is looking to grow in the near future as he also helps with his wife's operation Allison McGolden Club Lambs in Oklahoma. Corey spends his spare time traveling the country judging livestock shows. He has judged in the states of Texas, Oklahoma, Lousiana, and California where he has judged numerous jackpot, county fair, and state shows.
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