“It’s for the kids.”
In early March, Perry County 4-H advisor Drew Glenn had a good idea about what was coming when the discussion of the pandemic’s impact was beginning. As a Columbus firefighter, he knew how important stay at home orders would be, but also realized how it might affect 4-H youth participating in livestock shows. Glenn started researching the possibility of online shows and the Virtual Cattle Battle was created.
Drew and his wife, Elaine, are first-year advisors with the Blue Ribbon Jr. Farmers, and along with Jessica Boring, 11-year advisor with Madison Jr. Farmers, work with 4-H members focused on livestock. Their goal was simple: get kids into the barn. “This isn’t the same as showing at the fair, but we wanted kids to work with their animals, raise their spirits and have fun,” said Elaine.
Participants in the Virtual Cattle Battle record a one-minute video of themselves showing their animal, then upload the video to the appropriate class. The first show was just for Ohio youth and had 100 entries. The students on the Ohio State University Livestock Judging Team judged the entries. And because the Glenns are focused on supporting youth, all proceeds from the first show went to the OSU team.
Next up is the National Jackpot Show, with entries being accepted until April 30. Nationally known livestock judge Ryan Rash, a 4-H alumni from Texas, will evaluate the entries. According to Elaine Glenn, he agreed to donate his time judging the videos if the proceeds went to an ag-related cause. The Glenns decided to offer the proceeds to 4-H and FFA, based on participants' votes.
Drew is passionate about youth having the opportunity to work with their animals and showcase their efforts. He posts daily videos on the group’s Facebook page offering tips and encouragement. His motivation? “It’s for the kids.”
More information can be found at virtualcattlebattle.com and on their Facebook page @virtualcattlebattle.