Penn State's Beef Quiz Bowl team places nationally again

February 17, 2010

University Park, Pa. -- For the 14th time in 17 years, Penn State's student Beef Quiz Bowl team earned a top-two finish at the National Beef Quiz Bowl.
Held on Jan. 29, in San Antonio, Texas, this year's Beef Quiz Bowl boiled down to a double elimination contest between Penn State and the challenge's eventual champion, Kansas State University.

Although separated by only a few points, Penn State's team of Robyn Bechtel of Martinsburg, Pa., Dustin Brown of Tyrone, Pa., Elizabeth Cloninger of Centre Hall, Pa., and Jenna Pannone of Flemington, N.J., fell short to the opposing Wildcats. All four are seniors majoring in animal sciences.

With the second-place finish, Penn State remains the most decorated team in National Beef Quiz Bowl history. The Nittany Lions have won more competitions than any other university since the contest's inception in 1993. During that time, Penn State has represented the Northeast Region 14 times, winning the national championship nine times and placing second five times.

"There are so many positive influences that can be attributed to this successful record," said Christopher Raines, assistant professor of meat science and technology and co-adviser for the Beef Quiz Bowl Team. "Outstanding and talented students, challenging coursework and dedicated faculty and staff certainly contribute to Penn State's continued success."

The team also was co-advised by Vivian Baumer, research support associate in dairy and animal science, Daniel Kniffen, assistant professor of dairy and animal science, and Dale Olver, instructor in dairy and animal science.

The National Collegiate Beef Quiz Bowl, which is a joint program of the National Cattlemen's Foundation and the American Society of Animal Science, confronts competing students with questions ranging from cattle and beef production to nutrition and physiology. Issues pertaining to various disciplines, such as meats and genetics, as well as current events in the national cattle industry, also are topics of discussion during the Quiz Bowl.

Set amid the annual Cattle Industry Convention, where the National Cattlemen's Beef Association hosts the largest beef-focused trade show in the country, the competition both physically and mentally engages contestants, combining the pressure of a nationally renowned Quiz Bowl with the bustling environment of a working trade show.

The 250 exhibitors and nearly 5,700 attendees at the convention lent itself to an especially interesting atmosphere, according to Raines, "The atmosphere is exciting," he said. "Since it's a working trade show, anything can happen. It's noisy, and anyone can stop and watch the competition."

Teams are composed of four students, and questions are open-ended or multiple choice. Scoring ranges from 10-point questions to crucial bonus questions. However, the experience is much more than just a competition for students involved. The event requires students to have a working knowledge about the science of multiple disciplines, government policies and other pertinent information for the beef industry, Raines noted.

And while these students obviously have a passion for this field of study, Raines pointed out that there are many career opportunities beyond simply producing cattle.

"This competition does an excellent job of developing the future leaders of this field," he said. "It opens their eyes to the possibility of career opportunities in fields such as animal nutrition and ration balancing, application of various reproductive technologies, meat processing and product development, and even meat marketing. It shows them the value of having a completely comprehensive understanding of beef."

  • Penn State's Beef Quiz Bowl team.

    IMAGE: Penn State

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated November 18, 2010