By Ryn Gargulinski: Freedom Newspapers
TUCUMCARI — While many college students may trudge to class with visions of algebraic equations in their heads, those who attend Mesalands Community College have the opportunity to think of bull.
And cattle. And sheep and swine.
Livestock judging will soon be offered as a discipline at the two-year college, the only institution of its kind offering this opportunity in the state, according to college Public Relations Director John Yearout.
“Mesalands Community College has done it again,” Yearout said. “We have stepped out into an area where no other community college in New Mexico can be found. (Jason) Bollinger is the man who will ‘take this bull by the horns’ and run with it.”
Bollinger, who most recently served for more than five years as a Quay County agent for the New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension, said his new position as livestock judging coach and animal science instructor is a natural move.
“I grew up exhibiting livestock, and judging, and I took judging as seriously as other kids I grew up with did their sports activities,” Bollinger said. “It is one of my passions, and I am here now because of it.”
Besides, Bollinger is backed by qualifications that include an associate’s of science degree at Clarendon (Texas) Community College, a bachelor’s of science in agricultural development from Texas A&M and a master’s of science in animal science, reproductive physiology from NMSU. Not to mention his background in state and national livestock judging that started when he attended Grady High School.
A release from the college said their livestock program will serve as a stepping stone for students to transfer into the more advanced four-year programs, like those offered at NMSU.
“We want to meet the needs of our New Mexico state high school graduates interested in pursuing collegiate livestock judging and maintaining New Mexico Lottery scholarship eligibility,” Bollinger said.
“Team members will need to understand that their education comes first, then judging. We cannot have a successful judging program, without our judgers maintaining an appropriate grade-point average.”
Dean of instructional services David Gallatin added, “We are standing in the doorway of a great opportunity to serve a new group of students as well as the other institutions within the state.”
Mesalands has 15 livestock judging scholarships available, the release said. Anyone interested can drop by the college at 911 S. 10th St. or call 461-4413. Information is also available online at: www.mesalands.edu