I Past Honorees of National Land Judging



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The following individuals have made outstanding contributions to the National Land Pasture Range Judging Contest:
Earl Lowe
Ralph Dreessen
Clarence Bunch
Byrle Killian
Louis E. Deerr

Sandy Saunders
R. E. "Dick" Chiles
Fred Dries
Neal Stidam
Bill Lott

W Elmo Baumann
John Nelson
Mr. and Mrs. Dick Kouplen
Harold Dedrick
Louis E. Aull
Rolland Essman
Ray Etheridge
Harry Galloway
Harold Harper
John Hebert, Jr.
Russell Hill
Copeland Kell
Lavern Linnell
Charles Metcalf
Marion Porter
George Sharpe, Jr.
Elvin Smith
Edward J. Williamson

Russell Pierson
Norm Bagwell
Elza Bullen
Allan Williams
Glen Archer (posthumously)

Wanda Rice
Ray Parker
Jim Stiegler
Loren Rommann
Don Bartolina
Roy Stewart

Verlin Hart
Monte Reese
Steve Collier
Frank Cotten
Jack Kelsey

Bobby G. Bourlier
and Soil Scientists
Joe Raunikar
Lee Roy
Sylvia Hudson
P. J. Workman
Lori Evans Wilson

Eddie Smith
Mason Mungle
Terry Bidwell
Duane Crider
Charles Cox

Bobbie Steenbergen

Mark Harrison

Alvin Woodruff


Raymond Cockrum


Mark Moseley

Frank Evans
Rose Bonjour

Carolyn Tucker
Freida Rice
Wadell Altom

Kevin Hackett

Congratulations to Pete McDaniel,
the 2015 National Land & Range Judging Contest Honoree!

Phillip "Pete" McDaniel has been involved in the National Land and Range Judging contst since the very beginning.  His history with the contest began in 1955 when as a young lad from Apache, Oklahoma, he entered the first National Range Judging contest and won first place and was named Range Judging Contest National Champion.
Through the years, Pete has continued to participate in and support and promote the contest and to recruit other volunteers to help.  Pete serves as a group leader during the contest and is a real work horse when it comes to getting ready for the awards banquet.  He helps set up tables, arrange table decorations and serve on the food line, and after the banquet he always stays to help clean up.

Shortly after graduating from Apache High School, Pete began his farming and ranching career in 1959.  He worked for the Apache Cooperative, including eight years as the assistant manager and three years as manager.  Pete farms northwest of Apache in Caddo County and is the American Farmers and Ranchers' Southwest Area Field Representative.  A long-time Oklahoma Farmer Union member, his family ties to the union go back to his grandparents' membership and involvement.  He currently serves as secretary/treasurer of the Caddo County Farmers Union, served on the OFU Policy Committee and has lobbied during legislative action fly-ins to Washington D.C.  His cow/calf, wheat and hay operation currently consists of 1,600 acres of owned and rented land including the homesteads of his father and grandfather.  Pete has four children and many grandchildren.

"It's a real pleasure to work with someone like Pete who really has a passion for the National Land and Range Judging contest," said Don Bartolina, contest coordinator.  "He cares about our youth and our natural resources and very much deserves this honor."
Congratulations to Nick Owen,
the 2014 National Land & Range Judging Contest Honoree!

For 17 years Nick Owen has played an important part in the site selectionand layout of the National Land and Range Judging Contest.  From arranging for the digging of the pits, loting a site to feed 1,000 participants, or parking vehicles and returning the site to the way it was found, Nick can be counted on to get the job done.
Nick grew up on a farm southeast of Geary, Oklahoma, and is still an active farmer.  He was on the Geary FFA Land Judging team and received the FFA State Farmer Degree in 1986.  He was a high school basketball player and went on to play college ball in McPherson, Kansas.

Nick and his wife Christi live in El Reno with children Ky, Reagan, Kale and Kole.  They are members of Sacred Heart Catholic Church where he has played Santa Claus for the past 19 years and counting.  Nick has been very active in Little League sports where he has coached basketball, football, baseball and softball and is currently the high school basktball Booster Club President.

Nick joined the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) in 1997 as a soil onservation technician in the El Reno Field Office.  He has received numerous achievement awards in his 17 years with the USDA, but one of the most outstanding was the "National Unsung Hero Award" in 2003 for his exceptional leadership in conservation and his community.  He proudly represented NRCS when he accepted the award in Washington, D.C., from the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.

Don Bartolina, contest coordinator, says, "We appreciate all Nick does to make this contest run smoothly, especially carrying the 'Big Stick' during the parking of all the vehicles.  He is a guy you can count on and is very deserving of this award."

Congratulations to Harry L. Fritzler, the 2012 National Land & Range Judging Contest Honoree!

Harry L. Fritzler is the state grazinglands specialist for southern Oklahoma for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.  He was born and raised on a farming and ranching operation in northwest Oklahoma.  After completing high school at Fargo, he attended college at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater and graduated with a degree in Agronomy with a Range Mangement Option.

Harry began his career with NRCS in 1980.  He worked as a range conservationist at Kingfisher, Pawnee, Waurika, Pawhuska, Stillwater, and El Reno from 1980 to 1993.  He then served as a multi-county range conservationist at Purcell and acting area agronomist for the Duncan Area Office from 1993 to 1994.  In 1994 he was selected as an area resource specialist in the Pauls Valley Technical Service Office, covering 14 counties.  Harry served in that position until 2001 when he was named to his current position.

Harry's involvement with the National Land & Range Judging Contest began during the early 1980's.  He joined the ranks of contest workers as co-chair of the Range Judging Steering Committee in 2004, and is the lead NRCS coordinator for the Range Judging Contest.  He has also conducted numerous training schools over the years for coaches and leaders.  Harry also coordinates the presentation of the awards jackets for the high point teams, individuals, and coaches sponsored by the Society for Range Management at the contest Awards Banquet each year.

Harry is a member of the Society for Range Management and the Soil and Water Conservation Society.  He received the Society for Range Management's NRCS Range Conservationist of the Year Award in 2001 and the Oklahoma Section of the Society for Range Management's Trail Boss Award in 2004.

Harry's wife Beverly graduated from OSU and she is the owner of Rose Rock Veterinary Hospital & Pet Resort in Norman.  Harry and Beverly have two children, Bryce and Breawna.  Bryce is currently in his first year of Veterinary School at OSU, and Breawna is the Office Manager at Rose Rock Veterinary Hospital & Pet Resort.

"Harry is the 'quiet guy' who gets things done." said Don Bartolina, contest coordinator.  "We can really depend on him and appreciate all he does for the contest."

Our 2011 Honoree.....
Congratulations to Dianne Ireton, the 2011 National Land & Range Judging Contest Honoree!

Dianne is the systems coordinator for the Oklahoma Conservation Commission's Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program.  Soon after joining OCC in the fall of 1986, she started helping at the very next National Land & Range Judging Contest in May 1987, as one of approximately 200 tabulators hand grading contest score cards.

In the 60 years of the contest, the times have changed in many ways.  Especially in the 25 years of Dianne's personal experience with the contest, those changes have come at an increasingly rapid pace as the world entered first the age of computers, then the World Wide Web, then cellular and now 'smart' phones.  Tabulation and results have gone from handwritten to typewriters to computers, and today almost every student carries a cell phone, some of which are capable of containing applications that could provide an unfair advantage during the contest.

As Dianne's involvement with the contest has grown, she has gained more responsibility and has helped with modernizing several aspects of the contest as times have changed.  In 1999 she took over coordinating adult contest tabulation and compiling results from the entire contest and formatting them for the awards to be presented at the Awards Banquet.  In 2005 she streamlined and modernized contest registration by moving to the registration site the location for making corrections and entering new registrations with the use of portable computers and printers.  Previously, corrections and new registration information were taken back to the office where they were prepared and then carried back to the contest registration site.  This modernization has speeded up the registration process and greatly improved its efficiency.  More recently Dianne played a role in addressing rules about the use of electronic devices by participants during the contest.

Dianne also modernized contest processes by developing a system in which name tags, contest certificates and registration packets could all be produced from one database instead of separate databases for each category of product.

In addition, Dianne creates all the signs for the contest including sponsorship signs, group leader signs, field signs and parking signs.

Dianne said that time preparing for and during the National Land & Range Judging Contest is one of the busiest and most stressful times of her year.  But she speaks for all the annually-returning volunteers when she says, "If we didn't enjoy it and believe we are doing something good for the young people of America we wouldn't keep coming back."

Dianne and her husband Roy live in Choctaw and have two grown sons.