On Jan. 29, the State 4-H Horse Quiz Bowl contest drew teams from across Georgia for a spirited match in which buzzers were hot and stakes were high.
Madison County’s senior team took home first place and Alyssa Goldman, Georgia Kane, Clayton Adams and Elise Parks became the newest Master 4-H’ers in the Georgia 4-H program. The team was coached by Madison County volunteers Shannon McBridge and Sophia Merka.
Horse Quiz Bowl is one of dozens of agriculturally based programs that Georgia 4-H offers to youth with the goal of providing educational experiences that equip participants for their future as citizens and stewards. Contestants prepare by studying industry-standard handbooks on equine health, history, management and care. Participating 4-H’ers gain a practical understanding of equine science and principles of horse management relevant to horse ownership and other equine-related activities.
The contest takes place in a fast-paced quiz bowl style that places teams in brackets with double elimination. Fourteen junior teams and nine senior teams competed at the qualifying level, with the top five junior and top five senior teams competing in person at Rock Eagle. Junior teams are made up of youth from fourth to eighth grades and senior teams are in ninth to 12th grades. The winners of senior-level state competitions become Master 4-H’ers.
The first-place junior team from Thomas County included Anna Argo, Paisley Hurst, Kira Jenkins, Dakota Law and Jenna McBee. They were coached by Cindy Wynn, Thomas County 4-H Extension agent, with assistance from scorekeeper Brenda Benton.
The equine industry has a $2.5 billion impact on Georgia’s economy in an average year. The Horse Quiz Bowl program connects students with leading veterinarians and industry specialists as they prepare to compete. These impactful relationships facilitate the successful future of this important part of Georgia agriculture. Participants and their parents gain access to valuable information that can improve their equine operations.
Julia McCann, UGA Extension equine specialist, recognizes the long-term benefits of this program. “Horses always win when their owners are more knowledgeable. The veterinarians that help officiate the contest are very supportive of the students’ and coaches’ efforts,” she says. “The quest for so much knowledge takes real teamwork, strategy, commitment to excellence and learning to think fast! Those are handy skills to use in competition and in life.”
Other winners in the contest include second-place senior team from Oconee County, Emily Coggins, Danica Heeter, Molly Smith, Julia Thomas and McCall Woodruff; third-place senior team from Spalding County, Jade Brown, Abbey Deal, Allie Miller and Nakhia Wolfe; second-place junior team from Oglethorpe County, Mackenzie Erwin, Abby Gabriel, Camden Huff and Ava Nimmons; and third-place junior team from Cobb County, Torie Daniels, Sarah Beth Hembree, Addilyn Henderson, Josy Johnson and Karma Kilfoyle. The contest includes a test element; the junior test winner was Karma Kilfoyle from Cobb County and the senior test winner was Molly Smith from Oconee County.
Georgia 4-H empowers youth to become true leaders by developing necessary life skills, positive relationships and community awareness. As the largest youth leadership organization in the state, 4-H reaches more than 225,000 people annually through UGA Extension offices and 4-H facilities.