AUBURN, Ala.— An Alabama 4-H team brought home the Reserve Championship prize from the North American 4-H Invitational Dairy Quiz Bowl Competition. Brothers Gavin and Ethan Rankins, Rice Nichols and Nathan Gullatt are all Lee County 4-H Club members and represented the state at the Louisville, Kentucky contest.
Together, the team gave Alabama its best showing ever at the national contest. Alabama has competed nationally seven times, making its first appearance in 2005 and had never placed in the top six teams.
In addition, the Rankins brothers earned the top two scores on the event’s written test. Gavin placed first with younger brother Ethan just behind in second place.
“We are extremely proud not only of the team’s second place in the overall contest, but the hard work and time they put in to reap their success,” said Theresa Gullatt, a longtime 4-H volunteer who coached the team. “This is such a huge accomplishment. I felt like our Alabama team garnered as much attention, if not more, as the New York team who won the contest.”
Preparing for the National Contest
In 4-H Dairy Quiz Bowl, each match has two portions. First, there are team questions where team members work together on answers. The second portion pits two teams against each other for 20 toss-up questions.
“Mastering the buzzer for toss-up questions was part of the team’s practices,” said Ethan. “I learned how to hit a buzzer quickly.”
Rice Nichols added that each competitor gained valuable life skills by participating in 4-H Dairy Quiz Bowl.
“We all learned more than just dairy facts,” she said. “We learned how to work cooperatively as a team, and that takes practice.”
Gullatt said the team began national competition preparations back in late summer. She began coaching Lee County 4-H Dairy Quiz Bowl teams in 2013.
“Every member worked hard as individuals and as a team,” said Gullatt. “Four teens willing to put the time in to reach a goal also says a lot about this group. They appreciate the others’ strengths and use the team’s camaraderie to their advantage.
Gullatt said the team began intense practices in late summer.
“Sometimes they competed against themselves, but on several occasions, a group of Auburn University veterinary students practiced with the team.”
Gavin Rankins said the hard work provided more rewards than the top placing the team won.
“It was an honor to represent Alabama,” he said. “Meeting peers from other states who have a passion for the dairy industry and also reconnecting with friends I had met at other national events made the Louisville competition especially rewarding.”
Photos courtesy of Hoard’s Dairyman