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June 28, 2010

The Scotland Adventure ~ Go Team!

Dominic just returned from a quick 5 day trip to Scotland late last night, where the Petaluma FFA Dairy Judging Team he coaches just finished competing in the Dairy Evaluation Competition at the Royal Highland Show.

The team of four consists of, Sam Cheda, Rocco Cunningham, Mandy Brazil and Kelli Carstensen.  Dominic has coached this team all throughout their high school careers.  Last year the team won the California State FFA Championship for Dairy Evaluation at Cal Poly and then moved on to compete nationally in Indianapolis where they came in second.  As a result of their national results, they were invited to compete at the Royal Highland Show in Scotland.

This is a HUGE accomplishment!  No other Petaluma FFA team has ever made it this far in competition.   The entire community is extremely proud of them.  And I'm very proud of Dominic for volunteering his time to coach these kids. 

Here they are in front of the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh.

They were able to take in some sites before the competition. 
The Caledonian, a famous hotel in Edinburgh.  Such beautiful architecture.

When they arrived in Scotland, since it was 8 a.m., they dove right in to touring and their first tour stop was the National Museum of Rural Life located just outside of Glasgow.

The museum displays exhibits which gives one an idea of how farming has developed over the years in Scotland.

A short visit was made to the Scottish Agriculture College, Ayr Campus where they were shown the dairy facilities.  The grass is so green most of the year, the dairy cattle are able to graze on pasture well into September.  The winter is very wet and the cows are kept in free stall barns, just as they are here at home.

The cows are fed beet pulp, distillers dried grains and cereal grains (such as wheat), along with silage.

More sites to see.
Scott Monument.

Edinburgh Castle.

The Palace of Holyroodhouse is the official residence of Her Majesty the Queen in Scotland.

The next few photos are random landscape shots taken while touring. 

Just Beautiful!

Stopping for dinner at a quaint little outdoor cafe.  Dominic ordered lasagna.
Pictured from left: Jody (Mandy's Mom), Kelli, Kim Arntz (Petaluma High School Ag Advisor), Dominic, Mandy, Sam & Rocco. Thanks Lynn (Rocco's Mom) for snapping the photo!

The next day, Dominic and the Team toured the Royal Highland fairgrounds.

This breed of cow (bull in this case) is called the Highland Cow.

Umm...the Scottish know how to pack a show box.....(the drinking age is 18)

In the afternoons at the fairgrounds they have what is called "The Parade of Champions." 
Here the champion horses and ponies are paraded beginning with the Draft horses and finishing with the little Shetlands.  How cute are they?!

One of the champion bulls.

A Highland Cow.

The parade of Champion Cows.

Competition Day arrives.  Sam, Mandy, Kelli and Rocco are ready to begin. Dressed in their official dress, a white lab coat (this is the way of the Scottish).

Competition begins.  Sam taking his notes.

Total concentration from Rocco.

Mandy taking her notes.

Kellie, sizing everything up.

The team of four was broken down to two teams of two.  They judged against the other two top U.S. FFA teams, the top U.S. 4-H teams from the national show in Madison, Wisconsin and the top three U.S. Jr. College teams as well. 

The U.S. teams do not compete against the Scottish teams for the fact that the Scottish teams also test on sheep, beef and take a written test on Scotland agriculture laws. But word has it, comparing the Dairy Evaluation portion scores of the Scottish teams to our team, U.S. would retain the top scores.

The Results:

U.S. Petaluma Team #1 ~ Mandy & Kelli came in 1st Place!!!
U.S. Petaluma Team #2 ~ Rocco & Sam came in 2nd Place!!!

In addition, Rocco was the 1st Place High Individual overall!  Mandy was 2nd Place High Individual and Kelli was 3rd High Individual! 

Way To Go Team!!!  An experience they will remember for a lifetime!

Here they are receiving their awards.

Dominic was in Scotland for the competition portion only.  The rest of the team and their families will continue on, touring parts of Europe for the next week and a half. 

Happy Monday!
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