Archer tops Missouri 4-H Dairy Judging Contest

  • Published: Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023

SEDALIA, Mo. – Molly Archer earned high individual honors at the State 4-H Dairy Judging Contest, Aug. 19 at the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia. Archer, the daughter of Robert and Jamey Archer of Falcon, was the high individual in Ayrshires, Guernseys and Jerseys. She was also second in Holsteins and tied for first place in oral reasons.

“Molly had an outstanding day in the ring and was in the top three of every breed but one,” said Karla Deaver, University of Missouri Extension 4-H youth development specialist and co-coach of the Missouri 4-H Dairy Judging Team. “She has worked consistently, and her hard work is paying off now.”

Second high individual was Sammi Justice, the daughter of Jason and Sarah Justice of Clever. Justice was high individual in Holsteins and second in Jerseys. In third was Case Melzer. Melzer, son of Matt and Kelly Melzer of Harrisonville, was third in Jerseys. Rounding out the top five were Libby Shaver and Logan Archer. Shaver, daughter of Shane and Denise Shaver of Grovespring, was second in Guernseys and third in Holsteins. She was also tied with Archer for high individual in oral reasons. Logan Archer, Molly Archer’s brother, was third in Guernseys.

Topping the intermediate division was David Melzer of Harrisonville. Melzer is the son of Matt and Kelly Melzer. Second high intermediate was Lily Bluel of Monett. Bluel is the daughter of Neal and Reagan Bluel. Third high intermediate was Charley Dickerson of Unionville. Dickerson is the son of Melody and Josh Dickerson. Finishing in fourth was Colton Nisbett of Lebanon, the son of Jordan and Melissa Nisbett.

In the junior division, the top individual was Harper VanZyverden of Marshfield. VanZyverden is the daughter of Scott and Rachel VanZyverden. Second high junior was Emma Coleman, the daughter of William and Tera Coleman of Grant City. Coleman was third in Ayrshires and Brown Swiss. Third high in the junior division was Brantley Keltner of Clever. Keltner is the son of Devin and Bailey Keltner. Rounding out the top five were Diesel Dixon of Conway and Calvin Culpepper of Harrisonville. Dixon is the son of Brett and Jessica Dixon. Culpepper is the son of Michael and Leslie Culpepper.

Contestants placed six classes and gave two sets of oral reasons. The top three individuals in each breed received cash prizes sponsored by the Missouri breed associations and supporters of youth dairy programs. The top 10 individuals in each division received rosettes from the Missouri State Fair, and the top four individuals in each division received a plaque from the Missouri State Fair and supporters of the contest.

“The life skills that youth gain in judging activities – decision-making, problem-solving, public speaking, defending their decisions– are skills that we need to help our kids learn now more than ever. Not only are these skills they will use on a daily basis as adults, but in today’s uncertain world they are skills they will use now,” Deaver said.

Contestants, their families and exhibitors who provided cattle for the event were the guests at a Junior Dairymen’s Barbeque sponsored by Midwest Dairy Association, Missouri State Fair, Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, MFA, Dairy Farmers of America and Hiland Dairy.

For more information about the dairy judging program, contact Karla Deaver at the MU Extension Center in Lawrence County at 417-466-3102.

Major support for 4-H agriculture programs is provided by the Missouri 4-H Foundation in partnership with Bass Pro Shops, Corteva Agriscience, Crader Distributing Company, FCS Financial, Missouri Association of Meat Processors, Missouri Farm Bureau, Missouri Holstein Association, Eunice Campbell, and Robert E. “Bud” Herzog, DVM.

About 4-H

As America's largest youth development organization, 4-H offers youths, families and adult volunteers of all ages many ways to engage, grow and serve through clubs, camps, contests, conferences, special interest groups, in-school and after-school programs and more. It's about young people from both rural and urban areas making new friends and memories while preparing to be future leaders. For more information on how to get involved in 4-H, visit

Top senior judges. Front row, from left, Molly Archer, Samantha Justice, Case Melzer, Libby Shaver, Emma Parrigon, Chloe Hillian, Addison Porter. Back row, from left, Payton Harker, Ada Bluel, Eli Nisbett, Molly Melzer, Cordell Ward, Sam Peterson and Logan Archer.
Top intermediate judges, from left, David Melzer, Lily Bluel, Charley Dickerson and Colton Nisbett.
Top junior judges, from left, Trenton Nisbett, McCoy Morgan, Calvin Culpepper, Preston Campbell, Diesel Dixon, Brantley Keltner, Emma Coleman and Harper VanZyverden.

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Karla Deaver

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