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Redwood County team wins knowledge bowl

By Janet Kubat Willette

Date Modified: 11/14/2013 8:10 AM

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ST. PAUL — The set for the Minnesota Beef Expo Knowledge Bowl competition was less luxurious than a televised game show, but the contestants were no less intense.

Perhaps even more intense as they answered questions such as these:

• What percentage of cull cow carcasses are contaminated with bird shot?

• Which is not a characteristics of an ideal breeding heifer?

• Why is it generally recommended to use bulls with low birthrate EPDs on first-calf heifers?

• The Belgian Blue breed was developed in what country?

Eleven teams from across the state competed: Five in the junior division and six in the senior division. Participants in the senior division were 14 to 19 years old. Participants in the junior division were 13 and younger.

The competition was in an office/storage room in the Warner Coliseum. Two refrigerators provided background hum as Kent Thiesse, vice president of MinnStar Bank in Lake Crystal, read questions.

Participants sat at two tables arranged in an relaxed V. Each team had four members ready at their buzzers, with substitution allowed.

Bethany Funnell, a research associate at North Central Research and Outreach Center in Grand Rapids, was the judge. A volunteer kept score.

Each match had three phases: Individual questions, one per player; one-on-one questions where individuals from each team competed; and open questions where anyone could answer. There also was overtime, if needed.

In the first match, the Sibley Seniors team came out on top. It was the first time the team of Ben Klaers, 13, Zack Klaers, 16, both of Arlington, and Korri Perschau, 19, of Green Isle, and Hailee Rogich, 17, of Le Sueur, competed together.

It was Perschau's first year competing in Knowledge Bowl; the others had previously competed in the General Livestock 4-H Quiz Bowl.

They began preparing for the Beef Expo Knowledge Bowl in early October, pouring over resource books.

In the general livestock competition, they had to be knowledgeable of beef, sheep, swine and meat goats, so they divided up the species to focus on one.

Zack Klaers was the team's beef person and he was the one buzzing in most often, sometimes even before Thiesse had finished reading a question.

It's a calculated risk, Klaers said. He wanted to beat the other team to answer, so he buzzed early, but he ran the risk the answer he gave wouldn't fit the question.

"It's like a game show for us," Klaers said.

Rogich said she was really nervous when she sat down to compete, it's the same every match.

The nerves and tension between the teams filled the air during the matches. The questions got progressively harder.

The tension during the Redwood County and Sibley County match reached a peak, with team members seeming to jump when the buzzer sounded and Klaers putting his head on the table when a question was missed.

Yet, when the match was over, they stood up and shook hands, uttering good job, good job.

The Redwood County team went on to win the Minnesota Beef Expo Knowledge Bowl. They also won the State 4-H Livestock Quiz Bowl Contest last spring and will be going to the National 4-H Livestock Bowl in Louisville next month.

Beef expo gave them an opportunity to practice. It also gave team members from two different counties the chance to compete with one another rather than against one another.

The Dakota/Mower team was comprised of young men who compete on their county 4-H quiz bowl teams during the season. The Mower County team placed second in the state this year and the Dakota County team was third.

They practice with their county and figured since they were all coming to the beef expo they would form their own team. Team members were Jacob Frandrup, 17, of Hastings; Will Bollum, 17, of Northfield; Levi Anderson, 17, of Waltham; Connor Bollum, 16, of Austin; and Jackson Neil, 16, of Northfield. The Bollums are cousins and all have formed friendships while showing beef.

The Dakota/Mower team placed second.

The third place finisher was a team of young women dressed in camouflage sweatshirts sponsored by the Mississippi Valley Cattlemen's Association. The young women were from Morrison and Crow Wing counties.