NRD Along with NRCS Hosts State Range Judging Contest


The Upper Niobrara White Natural Resources District (UNWNRD) along with the Nebraska Chapter of the Society of Range Management and the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) partnered to host the 2022 State Range Judging Contest held on September 28th and 29th near Chadron, Nebraska. The Range Judging Contest allows participants to test their knowledge of range plants and specific major land resource areas (MLRA) within a topographic region. Within each area’s contest, participants are asked to identify a total of 24 plants as well as answer questions regarding the chosen MLRA sites. A total of six area contests are held each fall across the state of Nebraska. Participants do not need to qualify at an area contest to compete at the State Contest. The day prior to the contest, participants had the chance to practice at a site located near Chadron State College Rangeland Complex. This allowed those participants not necessarily familiar to the Northwest Nebraska area, gain an idea of what they could be tested on at the contest the next day.

The contest is divided into three divisions: Senior division is categorized as those participants that are a high school junior or senior; Junior division is categorized as those participants that are either a sophomore or below in class standing; and the adult division are those contestants who have graduated from high school. The State Range Judging contest hosted a total of 401 participants (168 seniors, 208 juniors and 25 in the adult division) from around the state the farthest traveling upwards of six hours to attend.

In the Senior Division
1st- West Holt FFA
2nd- Ord High School
3rd- St. Paul
4th- Burwell FFA

Contestants’ scores were then calculated into individual scores
1st- Sidney Burkinshaw, West Holt FFA
2nd- Addie Karo, West Holt FFA
3rd- Ryder Reineke, Ord High School
4th- Adam Knapp, Ord High School
5th- Isaac Hagen, St. Paul High School
6th- Isaac Pistulka, West Holt FFA
7th- Hayes Jensen, Burwell FFA

In the Junior Division
1st- West Holt FFA
2nd- Burwell FFA
3rd- St. Paul came
4th- Sargent FFA

Contestants’ scores were then calculated into individual scores
1st- There was a tie for 1st: Jack Thede, St. Paul and Cale Buss, Burwell FFA
2nd- Nick Hansen, West Holt FFA
3rd- Owen Wess, Chadron FFA
4th- Makenna Schaaf, West Holt FFA
5th- Cody Burson, Burwell FFA
6th- Drake Nemetz, West Holt FFA
7th- Lily Vogel, West Holt FFA

In the Adult Division
1st- West Holt FFA advisor, David Gibbens
2nd- St. Paul’s Boyd Bowder
3rd- Burwell’s FFA advisor Phil Simpson
4th- Boyd County’s Roger Lechtenberg
5th- Colin Kubik of Norris High School
6th- Ord’s Dave Ference
7th- Caleb tenBensel of Broken Bow FFA

The Champion and Reserve Champion teams have a chance to attend the National Range Judging Contest held the Spring of 2023.

Tricia Goes, Conservation Programs Specialist of UNWNRD, stated “Being selected to host the 2022 State Range Judging Contest was an honor for our District. There is so much to offer in the beautiful Northwest corner of Nebraska. The contest was a challenge for some, not only allowing travel time, but the vastly different topography and plant types offered. It was an excitement filled couple days!”