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Lanesboro FFA wins dairy judging contest

By Janet Kubat Willette

Date Modified: 05/20/2013 9:28 AM

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MINNEAPOLIS – Lanesboro's FFA dairy judges are going to Louisville.

They earned the trip by placing first in the Dairy Cattle Evaluation Career Development Event at the 84th Minnesota FFA Convention held April 28-30 at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities campus. The team placed second in state last year.

The team of Haely Leiding, Kayla Leiding and Travis Troendle didn't want to win last year. They wanted to wait until Travis' younger brother, Jared, joined the team.

Bringing Jared on was the key to victory as the team edged Caledonia, last year's winner, by a score of 1,515 to 1,477 at state. At Region 8 competition, Caledonia beat Lanesboro.

The last time a Lanesboro dairy judging team placed first at state was in 1997.

Standing outside Mariucci Arena after the April 30 award ceremony, team members and their coaches were all smiles.

They had compared their placing scores to the judges' posted scores on April 29 and knew they did alright in that category of the competition, said Travis, a sophomore.

And later that night, they learned they were in the top five, said Haely, a sophomore.

That's when they called their parents and asked them to come up for the awards ceremony.

But excitement and nerves about how they did didn't keep them up all night.

"We were all exhausted from the contest," Travis said.

The nerves kicked in as they walked on stage, said Jared, an eighth grader.

One by one, the top five teams were announced. Fifth place, fourth place, third place . . . then it was between Caledonia and Lanesboro.

And Lanesboro placed first, behind the strength of Kayla's third place individual showing. Kayla is a sophomore.

This summer, they will dairy judge for 4-H and in late October, they will leave for Louisville to compete at the National FFA Convention.