More than 100 high school students from 11 schools across the Nebraska Panhandle competed in the Area I Range Judging contest held at Kirkland and Sheila Budd’s Ranch near Rushville Sept. 20.

The overall winner of the contest as well as senior division was Hayden Hoos from Gordon-Rushville High School.  The first place senior team was from Gordon-Rushville (Hoos, Kenna Rose, Kylie Peters and Berklie Haag).   The top scoring individual in the junior division was Faith Cox from Valentine High School. Valentine also took home the top junior team honors (Cox, Michaela Keller, Delaney Robison, and Hank Lancaster). 

Tim Nollette of Cody-Kilgore placed first in the adult division. 

The Area Range Judging contests allow students to enhance their knowledge of grasses and forbs in rangeland while testing range management skills.  Competitors are judged on their knowledge of plant identification and classification, soil types, rangeland conditions and grazing management. 

The participants are split between two divisions.  The senior division consists of high school juniors and seniors, and the junior division consists of high school freshman and sophomores.  The students compete for both individual and team awards.

The contest is sponsored by the Society of Range Management with volunteers from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), UNL Extension, the Upper Niobrara White Natural Resources District, South Platte Natural Resources District, and the North Platte Natural Resources District.