By Karen Blackledge
The Danville News
DANVILLE — Daniel Kitchen had to show dairy cows he wasn’t familiar with in an arena. Two of the three cows cooperated as he led them individually around the ring.
The third wasn’t as calm. At first it “threw its head and tried to run a little bit. I was able to calm her down,” the Danville Area High School sophomore said.
“I tried to keep her head from turning so she didn’t see the gate that was on one side of the arena,” he said.
Daniel’s performance earned him first place in FFA dairy showmanship in the Northeast Region of the United States. The competition, where he received a plaque, was Sept. 13 in Springfield, Mass.
There were 22 other students competing against him.
The cow he had to calm down was in the category of a 2-year-old milking Shorthorn. The other cows he showed were a Holstein born last fall and a Guernsey summer yearling.
Fifteen-year-old Daniel was tops in three classes and showed dairy cattle in a total of seven classes.
His agriculture science teacher, Michael Shultz, said Daniel qualified at the state competition in State College in June for the Northeast regional event.
He will not advance to any further competition above the Northeast regional judging.
Daniel said judges consider the FFA member’s appearance, such as having to wear all white, and how the person acts around animals.
“You have to make sure you are calm and cool. Some judges like you to smile and others like you to be intense,” he said.
Daniel has been an FFA member for two years.
Having grown up on a dairy farm in West Hemlock Township, he has been showing calves for many years. “In the summer and winter I show calves. I wash them and lead them around every day,” the agriculture science student said.
The Kitchen family has about 130 Holsteins. His chores include feeding the calves when he gets home from school. Daniel is a son of Dr. Patricia Kitchen and Randy Kitchen.
After graduation, he plans to study animal science nutrition in college. He hopes to eventually work with dairy animals.
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