Championdrive.com is pleased to present the second of our new series, “A few Minutes”, where we will feature a judge for one of the upcoming shows. We’ve decided to feature Brad Angus as he will be judging the market lambs at Tulsa State Fair on October 6th & 7th. We invite you to read our candid interview with Mr. Angus below. Be sure to check back often for “A Few Minutes”.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Ottawa, Illinois on a multi-specie livestock and grain operation.
What was your experience with sheep growing up?
I showed purebred sheep and market lambs throughout ten years of 4-H and FFA.
Where did you go to college?
I attended the University of Illinois and received my B.S. and M.S. in Animal Science.
Where do you work now?
I am an instructor and the livestock judging team coach at Joliet Junior College in Joliet, Illinois.
Where do you call home?
I live in Ottawa, Illinois on the family farm with my wife Julie and sons, Tyler and Nicholas.
Do you still raise sheep?
We have a flock of about 50 ewes, including purebred Oxfords and Suffolk-Hampshire ewes for club lamb production.
As a livestock judging coach what do you believe is the most important thing to teach your students?
I am firm believer that the livestock judging program benefits young people in so many ways and I think that each student is impacted by the experience differently. Ultimately I hope all the students that I work with become better communicators as that skill will serve them regardless of the career path they choose.
If a student is not related to the livestock industry, what do you feel is the most important thing for them to learn about the livestock industry?
I simply want my students to be better evaluators regardless of their success in any one contest. I want them to better understand the principles of functional, quality livestock and to realize that good livestock can come in all shapes and sizes and not simply be compared to what may be trendy at any particular moment.
Everyone that judged has had that one card they wish they could go back and change. What would it have been for you?
Duroc gilts at the American Royal. Along with several of my teammates, we really overthought that one and it cost us a big contest win.
Let’s talk about some market lamb evaluation now.
What is your first sort when the lambs walk into the ring?
It’s a market lamb show, so I would have to say that muscle has to be the first priority. I evaluate lambs on lots of different criteria, but they have to have at least adequate muscle to be in the top end of the class.
What characteristics do you believe separate the really good lambs when you get down to the top two or three in class or the champion drive at a high quality show?
At the very top end of shows, for me, how a lamb is built in his skeleton and structure is what separates the good ones from the very good ones. This is the point where I focus more on how they move, how they balance from the side, and if they can maintain a quality look regardless of what vantage point you study them from.
How do you believe market lamb selection, in terms of important qualities of the lamb, has changed in say the past ten to fifteen years?
As I watch lots of different judges evaluate market lamb shows I really believe that we have become more focused on picking sheep that are “complete”. There are always going to be trends in the livestock industry, but I really think we are doing a better job of steering away from single trait extremes.
If you could give exhibitors one piece of advice on what to take away from the experience what would it be?
It is hard to explain to young people what every former exhibitor knows. It is over before you know it!! I would encourage them to make friends and have fun. I want every young person to work hard and strive to win, but regardless of how you do it should be a fun, family oriented experience. Almost every close friend that I have today is someone that I met through junior livestock activities.
Who was the most important influence in your sheep and/or judging career?
My grandfather had a true passion for raising sheep and he encouraged and fostered my interest in raising and showing sheep. In terms of my judging career, I owe a great deal of thanks to Larry Mrozinski. At the outset of my judging career, Larry recommended me for a number of shows not knowing how I might perform. Those early shows led to all the opportunities that I’ve had since and ultimately that all traces to his recommendations.
Lastly a fun question to end on…do you own an IPOD?
No, my son has one. I’m still stuck on the old fashioned technology – the radio and occasionally some CDs.