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Former Rensselaer Central High School agriculture teacher Ron Wamsley is now leading a new 4-H club that’s making its mark for local young ag enthusiasts.

RENSSELAER — The new Jasper Judging Club, a livestock judging group under former Rensselaer Central High School agriculture teacher Ron Wamsley, finished sixth overall and fourth in swine at the Aksarben Livestock Contest last month.

The Jasper County Judging Club describes itself on Facebook as “a young, talented group of livestock judging enthusiasts who compete at local, state and national contests.”

Wamsley said the group was founded with help from Jasper County Purdue Extension 4-H Youth Development Educator Anna Williams.

“This summer, we worked on establishing that with Anna Williams,” Wamsley said. “And it’s now an official club. And so everybody and their brother can sign up for that if they want to. As long as they’re in 4-H, they can be on the Jasper Judging Club.”

The new team has had an interesting first year by starting at the bizarrely named contest, which Wamsley said is so-named because it’s “Nebraska” spelled backwards.

“That’s just what they do,” Wamsley said with a laugh. “I don’t know why.”

This year’s team consisted of Anna Hannon, Gage Tebo, Emily Waling and Caleb Wamsley.

Hannon won High Individual in Sheep and High Individual in Oral Reasons. Coach Wamsley emphasized the significance of Hannon and the team’s victory.

“When you have 38 teams, that’s roughly 160 students,” He said. “And these are all all-star teams, most of them. About 10 or 12 of the teams are local teams like us. But there’s about 20 teams that are all-star teams, so they send their best four.”

He said this proves the team’s capability.

“I think there was only one team that beat us that was a local team,” Wasmley said. “The teams that beat us were all-star teams. But we beat about 15 all-star teams. That speaks well for us, when we can go compete with the state’s four best.”

The team is essentially a continuation of the livestock judging teams formerly put together under Wamsley at the Rensselaer Central School Corporation. Wamsley left the school this summer after working there 30 years.

“There has to be somebody that wants to take that leap,” Wamsley said of leading a local livestock judging team. “And I love it and I enjoy it. I want to.”

He said livestock judging teams have brought in significant scholarship opportunities for local students — specifically, more than $250,000.

“The last three years, we’ve had $180,000 in scholarships,” he said. “It’s a little more sparse back 10 years. But, if you go back 10 years, we’ve had $300,000 in scholarships.”