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Todd Wise

We caught up with market lamb judge Todd Wise before he steps “Inside the Ring” at San Antonio Livestock Show. We invite you to read our candid interview with Todd below and please continue to check back often for our next edition of “Inside the Ring.”

I am pretty happy where I have ended up. I guess just who I am.

Not much into Super Hero’s. How ever I have had a lot of great people that have influenced me.

I would say just a simpler time. The world has a lot going on right now.

Stay true to yourself and always do the right thing

I am not much of a music person. I mostly listen to talk radio

Sometimes I look serious but I am smiling inside

John Wayne and the Cowboys

This edition of A Few Minutes is with Brenden Benson from Texas, the judge for the Arizona National Junior Livestock Market Lamb & Breeding Sheep Show. Brenden graduated with an Animal Science degree from Texas A&M University in 2010. He has recently been hired by Boehringer Ingelheim as a Pet Sales Representative. Enjoy reading our candid interview with Mr. Brenden Benson.

Where did you grow up and what was your experience with sheep growing up?
I grew up in Winters, CA, a small farming community in the northern part of the state. Hampshire sheep have been the foundation which my experience in the industry has been built upon. When the art of washing, carding, packing, hand shearing…carding and packing was still the trend, my parents had built a registered flock composed of Tesconi genetics.  Our family campaigned our flock throughout the state for many years but as the wether craze caught fire, we too followed the movement.

What is your current involvement in the sheep industry?
Over the past five years I have been developing a modest flock consisting of about 30 brood ewes. I have been very fortunate to have the help of my father, Kent Benson, and Josh Cody in this process as I have been working on my education at Texas A&M University.

What are your initial sorts when evaluating market lambs? 
I’m sure the questions “What do we need to haul to Benson?” and “What kind does he like?” have been asked in preparation for Arizona. The answer is short and simple, Bring a Good One. Depending on who you are talking to a “good one” may have some variability. Within my own flock structural integrity, a unique skeleton and genuine power are emphasized. Those traits in conjunction with extra muscle shape and handling quality will be used to make placing decisions. While that may seem vague, I will say that muscle and finish are the fundamental pieces to making a good market animal but having one that is elite from the side with a round and shallow fore rib is never a bad idea, in my opinion.

What person/people influenced or helped to shape your view on what the ideal sheep should possess?
Josh Cody and Blaine Rodgers are two friends/mentors that have shaped my opinions on what good livestock, not just sheep, need to be built like. Each possess a critical eye for evaluating livestock and their instruction has been the constitution for my success over the years.

Where did you attend college and what judging awards did you receive?
I was a member of the 2005 National Champion FFA Livestock Judging Team, the 2006 National Champion 4-H Livestock Judging Team, the 2007 Reserve National Champion Junior College Livestock Judging Team and the 2009 Reserve National Champion Senior College Livestock Judging Team.

What is your favorite buck of all time?  And Why?
Composure is my favorite buck of all time without question. His ability to sire females that consistently lie down and generate stud bucks is truly impressive. I have built my entire flock around, what I feel to be, the most genetically predictable sire of all time.

Thanks Brenden for your time!

This edition of A Few Minutes is with Todd Wise from Keenesburg, Colorado, the market judge for the Wisconsin State Fair Junior Market Lamb Show this Wednesday. Enjoy reading our candid interview with Mr. Todd Wise and be sure to check back for more state fair judge interviews in the coming weeks!

Why do you take the time out of your busy schedule to judge market lamb shows? 
I enjoy the interaction with the people involved. I believe in the program and the cultivation of our youth in agriculture. I also think it is exciting to see different sheep from around the country.

What is your background and current involvement in the sheep industry?
I am a Colorado State University graduate, where I was a member of the Livestock Judging team. Being the third generation of the sheep business in my family, we maintain a flock of 100 club lamb ewes. We also have a herd of commercial cows, as well as produce hay. My everyday job is a Senior Territory manager for Merck Animal health in the ruminant division.

How does your current operation effect what you look for when evaluating sheep?
I raise the type of sheep that I prefer. They are productive and functional.  I also use the shows as a learning experience to stay up to date with the trends to benefit our flock. Seeing what works genetically for others and where we can improve is our main objective. 

What person/people influenced or helped to shape your view on what the ideal sheep should possess?
There have been so many people over the years it is hard to single any one out.

What are your initial sorts when evaluating market lambs? 
Muscle, correctness of finish and structural correctness

When you get down to those top end lambs, what separates them for you?
I think at times the showman makes a difference and varying differences in muscle, finish and feet and leg placement.

What would you consider an acceptable fat range?
Very subjective question I would say .15 on the lean side and up to .25

Who are some people that you credit with helping you get to where you are today? 
Parents Jim and Judy, Dr John Edwards, Gary Jennings

What’s the best market lamb you have ever seen?
It is so hard to say I have had the opportunity to evaluate some tremendous lambs over the years. I feel very blessed to have had the chance to see some of the best that represent their breed or weight but to just pick one would not do justice to all the others.  

Who’s the person you must like to sit down and watch judge?  
Marvin Ensor he is very consistant and just appreciates good ones

What do you think is the most important issue facing the sheep industry?
Demand for the product

What’s your biggest pet peeve in the showring?

Do you consider yourself more of a handle judge or a profile judge?
I think a combination of the two

You’ve got one night to go anywhere in the country and watch one band? Where is it and who you watching?
Jimmy Buffet on a beach with wife Lori and daughter Bailey

Who is your favorite sports team? 
Denver Broncos

What is your favorite place to vacation? 
Alaska or Elk camp