Tater Tots, Spuds R Us and the Potato Mashers
Posted: February 23, 2015
For the first time Montgomery County was represented at the Pennsylvania Farm show in the 4-H Potato Judging and Identification Competition! Eleven Montgomery County 4-H members competed on 3 teams at the 99th Pennsylvania Farm Show on January 13th, 2015. Made up of 4-H members from the Alpaca, Dairy, Equine, Livestock and Poultry clubs, they practiced for 2 months getting ready for the competition.
There was a huge learning curve to jump into this competitive event especially due to the limited number of potato growers in the area. Montgomery County 4-H Extension Educator, Amy Shollenberger, saw information about the contest and begin asking some youth if they would be interested and the word spread and they soon had enough for multiple teams and so the learning process for everyone began!
The competitors must test their skills at three stations. The first station is a “potato grading” station. The station is a timed event where competitors challenge to see who can grade 100 potatoes in the shortest time. Not only is quickness important, but so is accuracy. The second station is a “defect station” where competitors must accurately identify 20 different defects on 40 different potatoes. The third station is a “plate” grading station. Five potatoes are put on each of four plates. Each plate must be evaluated on uniformity of size and shape and lack of defects. The plates must then be ranked in order. Two classes of plates must be judged.
54 youth participated from across the Commonwealth. Dauphin and Union counties also competed for the first time and they were joined by Bradford, Indiana, Leigh and Northampton counties. Every county can send an “A” team and you can send as many “B” teams as you want. Montgomery County’s “A” team – calling themselves the “Tater Tots” came in 3rd in the State! Members of that team were Tanner Frankenfield (Souderton), Tayler Garges (Telford), Grace Lindsay (Harleysville) and Colin Yeh (Lansdale).
Montgomery County’s sent two “B” teams that also placed. Spuds R Us placed fourth with team members Mariellen Kehler (Barto), Naomi Lindsay (Harleysville), Annabelle Martindell (Harleysville), and Jessica Pierce (Trooper)and the Tater Mashers, placed fifth with team members Lila Bechtel (Trappe), Kyle Kucas (Hatfield), and Adrianna Mowrer (Perkiomenville). Individually, Montgomery County had some of the top individuals in the contest! Grace Lindsay was 2nd, Colin Yeh was 4th and Jessica Pierce tied for 8th!
The kids had a great day at the contest and getting to enjoy the 99th Pennsylvania Farm Show and they also got to spend some time with State Representative Marcy Toepel who stopped by to cheer them on! This contest teaches and enhances life skills such as decision making, defending your answer, quickness, and observation. These skills are used for judging potatoes and are also used for judging livestock and other items in 4-H. Enhancing the use of these skills helps prepare 4-H members for future careers and activities.