Summer camps bring hundreds of agriculture youth to Aggieland

Writer:  Maggie Tucker


2015 Livestock Judging Camp participants were exposed to several Aggie Traditions including singing the Aggie War Hymn.

COLLEGE STATION — When thinking about summer camp, the first thing that comes to mind might not be studying steers, placing a class of horses or fine-tuning lamb showmanship. But that is how “summer camp” is defined by the Department of Animal Science at Texas A&M University.

This summer more than 1,400 school-aged kids from 14 different states made the trip to Aggieland to participate in the Horse Judging Camp, Livestock Judging Camp, Aggieland Goat Camp, Aggieland Lamb Camp and the Aggie Commercial Steer Camp.

These camps are designed for students who show livestock animals or participate in judging animals at county, state and national livestock shows and competitions.

For two to three days at a time, students from around the country gather for a high impact, hands-on experience. They are taught all there is to know about being successful with their show projects or judging animals, while also being exposed to Texas A&M and the Department of Animal Science faculty, students and programs.

Horse Judging Camp

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The 2015 Horse Judging Camp included a visit to the Thomas G. Hildebrand, DVM ’56 Equine Complex.

More than 100 4-H and FFA members attended the 2015 Horse Judging Camps held on June 3-5 and June 24-26. The camps focused on instruction for judging halter and performance classes with time spent in small groups concentrating on reasons. Students had the opportunity to tour the Thomas G. Hildebrand, DVM ’56 Equine Complex and judge a class of western horsemanship and western pleasure, put on by the Texas A&M Equestrian Team.

Coaches for this year’s camps were Jennifer Zoller, Dr. Dennis Sigler, Teri Antilley, Chelsie Huseman and several previous and current members of the Texas A&M Horse Judging Team.

“By having so many experienced camp counselors we are able to work on reasons in small groups, which helps the kids to get more one-on-one attention. We also offer advanced and introductory classroom sessions when we are discussing different events, so camp is beneficial for everyone from the very beginner to the more experienced horse judger,” said Zoller.

Livestock Judging Camp


Livestock Judging Camp included instruction on judging cattle, pigs, sheep and goats.

Almost 250 campers from 11 different states participated in this year’s Livestock Judging Camps hosted by the 2015 and 2016 Livestock Judging Teams and Brant Poe, team coordinator. Livestock Judging Camp 1 was held June 12-14 and Livestock Judging Camp 2 was held June 15-17.

This unique opportunity allowed students to get a taste of being an Aggie while learning how to better judge cattle, pigs, sheep and goats. Another important component of the camp is learning reasons where students spend  time learning how to effectively explain and communicate why they placed a class the way they did. This is all done with the goal in mind of being more competitive in future livestock judging contests.

Aggieland Lamb & Goat Camps

Once again, the Aggieland Lamb and the Aggie Goat Camps were a success attracting 480 participants for each camp. Aggieland Lamb Camp was held July 17-19, and Aggieland Goat Camp was held July 24-25 and were attended by exhibitors and parents alike. The camps offered instruction on showmanship techniques, proper facilities, selection criteria, nutrition and health, pre-show preparation, show day activities and exercise programs. Hands-on demonstrations were conducted on proper ways to shear, trim hooves and give shots. A showmanship competition was held on the  final day of the camps.

Aggie Commercial Steer Camp

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Dr. Jason Cleere was one of the several animal science faculty to present information at the Aggie Commercial Steer Camp.

The 2015 Aggie Commercial Steer Camp was held July 27-28 and was hosted by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and the Department of Animal Science and sponsored by the Texas Beef Council, San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo® and Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo®. The 85 participants learned about all aspects of preparing livestock for the commercial steer show including live steer evaluation, selecting calves, health concerns, nutritional needs, overview of Texas commercial steer contests and much more. Camp instructors included Animal Science faculty and staff, 18 show officials, past participants and committee members from major shows.


For more information regarding news from the Department of Animal Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Texas A&M University, please contact Courtney Coufal at or (979) 845-1542.

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