Surprising national finish fills Oregon 4-H dairy cattle judging team with joy

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The team from Oregon wasn’t sure what to expect when announcers started counting down the top-placing finishers at the most prestigious 4-H dairy cattle judging competition in the United States.

After all, it was the first time in recent memory that a team from Oregon competed in the National 4-H Dairy Cattle Judging Contest, held in October at the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin.

“We really didn’t know what was going to happen,” said Peyton Rawe, a senior at Tillamook High School. “I would say that we were nervous and hoping to do well.”

Ohio was announced at No. 5. Florida was fourth. At that point, Rawe assumed that Oregon had finished out of the top five.

Then third place was announced.


“We were just in shock,” Rawe said. “My eyes filled with tears. It was incredible.”

The three-member team representing the Oregon State University Extension Service 4-H Youth Development Program were Rawe, her Tillamook High classmate Logan Lancaster, and Clancey Krahn, a sixth-generation dairy farmer in Linn County who finished fifth in the individual standings.

Oregon 4-H was topped only by second-place Missouri and national champion Minnesota. It was one of only two teams in the top 10 that competed with three members – the other eight had four. In the individual competition, Lancaster was 14th and Rawe was 15th.

“This outstanding accomplishment showcases the dedication and talent of these young individuals in the field of dairy judging,” said Dakota Lager, 4-H Youth Development Program coordinator in Tillamook County. “Their achievements not only reflect the hard work and determination of these young individuals but also underscores the importance of 4-H programs in nurturing the talents and passions of youth in our community.”

Rare national appearance

Lager looked into the last time Oregon competed at the national contest and it’s been at least 17 years. Oregon has never won as a team or has had an individual winner. The contest started in 1919.

The team members honed their skills and knowledge to compete at a national level through the guidance of coach Jim Krahn, Clancey Krahn’s grandfather who came out of retirement to provide mentorship and leadership that played a pivotal role in their success.

“It was selfless of him to do that,” Rawe said. “The fact that he stepped up out of retirement was incredible. He really took us to the next level. We really just skyrocketed.”

While judging dairy cattle was fairly new to Rawe, who shows beef cattle, dairy judging comes naturally to Clancey Krahn, who’s been around dairy cows all her life. Her family owns and operates Royal Riverside Farm in Albany, which bottles and sells milk directly to consumers across Oregon.

“I’ve been showing dairy cows since I was four years old,” said Krahn, who was selected as the 2023-2024 Oregon Diary Princess Ambassador. “It’s in my blood.”

Her father managed the OSU dairy for 13 years. Her mother has taught dairy classes. Her older sister, Gracie, a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, finished seventh in dairy judging in the four-year collegiate competition at the North American International Livestock Expo in November.

4-H dairy cattle judging is similar to other 4-H livestock judging. The competitors are given cows to judge in different classes. In Wisconsin, they were given 12 minutes to judge each class. Then they orally present their reasons to a judge as to why they decided the placing of the top cows in each class.

The reasons must be accurate, use the present tense and catch the listener’s attention.

Krahn finished third in the oral reasons category.

“Honestly, with my background I have been able to have a niche in speaking which allows me to excel in dairy judging,” Krahn said, although she admits she still gets nervous even though she’s been judging dairy cattle since age 10, maybe younger.

“So nervous,” she said. “My grandpa said that I get nervous because I care so much, so I guess I care a lot.”

Krahn graduated from Scio High School in June and attends Linn-Benton Community College. She plans to transfer to Oklahoma State University in 2024.

By placing in the top three, the team qualified for International Dairy Judging Competition in Scotland this summer. The team will be looking for donations to fund the trip over the next few months. For more information on how to donate please contact Lager at [email protected], or 503-842-3433.

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