Kyler Vernon Goes to Scotland
What happens when you send some of American's top livestock judging kids to Scotland? A lot of fun, a lot of learning and some great photos! Kyler Vernon from California put his trip this summer into words and hid dad, Scott, generously let us use some of his fabulous photos to document an amazing experience! Here are some excerpts from the feature/photo story running in this month's issue of The Show Circuit magazine.
For background: "The Top 3 teams in the National 4-H and FFA Livestock Judging contests, as well as the top placing teams at American Royal and Denver, earn a spot on a two-week trip touring through Scotland and Ireland. They also will compete at the Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh. This trip is focused primarily around examining Scottish agriculture and touring the lush countryside. It is the reward for the years of work many young people have put in to the field livestock evaluation. For decades, this experience has become a strong tradition in the 4-H and FFA livestock judging realm, spanning all the way back to its inception in the 1980s. From all across the livestock and show stock industry, thousands have had the privilege to tour Scotland.
"My trip to Scotland didn’t begin when I boarded the plane, it began May 8th, 2017, the day after my team had won the California FFA state finals. That day, I set my phone backdrop photo to a picture of a green Scottish pasture. Almost instantly my goal was set, my team was going to Scotland. Like many others, the journey starts at practice: give set after set of reasons, developing new terms, and studying countless classes to get it right. The hours these competitors put into their craft is what makes this trip significant.
"Now to the fun stuff, kinda. For many, this year’s trip began in the elegant setting of the crowded Newark New Jersey airport. This was where most everyone’s connecting flight had met; Gate 72A soon filled up with people sporting Twisted X shoes and Richardson caps. By the looks of it, this group knew the meaning of the phrase “good time.” After multiple delays, the group developed some frustration with our airline. I can’t disclose which airline but rhymes with United.
"After a long flight, we all arrive in Glasgow, Scotland’s largest metropolitan area. Bruce, our honorable tour coordinator, meets us and leads us to our two tour buses. Our first stop is the Scottish museum of Rural life, here we began to learn the native tongue of Scotland. In this linguistic expedition, we had to translate English to, you guessed it, English.
"Our first two full days in Scotland, the theme of achievement began to reemerge at the Royal Highland Show. The Royal Highland is the largest agricultural exposition in all of Scotland, featuring sheep and cattle shows similar to the United States. They don’t show any hogs at the Highland.
"There we judged alongside the young farmers group of the UK in a livestock contest. Among the Americans, Texas 4-H was high team beef and Virginia 4-H was high team sheep. “Though we didn’t compete against the Scots, we still consider ourselves world champions...Cause America,” said Riley Travers of Virginia 4-H.
To see the rest of the story and more great photos, see our online issue or grab a magazine at your upcoming State Fair. If you are one of our valued subscribers, the August issue can be found in your own mailbox in the next few days.