National Champion Paige Delaney [Photo: Craig Maley Photography]
A modern-day pioneer from western North Dakota is leaving tracks of history in the books — bringing home a national title that is sure to help nurture the vitality of the land she hails from.
Paige Delaney of Alexander, North Dakota was recently named the National 4-H Range Judging Champion, along with her team that placed first overall. The students made a phenomenal representation with their knowledge of land for various purposes, including farming, range management, and home development.
The 2023 National 4-H Range Judging Championship team of McKenzie County included: Paige Delaney, National Champion; Ryan Pingel, Watford City – 4th overall; Sylvia Boeklman, Keene – 5th; and Luke Smith, Arnegard – 8th overall. They were coached by Morgan Lyn Wisness, Keene; Devan Leo, Rawson; and Kevin Sedivec, Mayville.
The competition took place at the Canadian County Expo in El Reno, Oklahoma on May 2-4, 2023. The National Land and Range Judging Contest is an annual event that brings nearly 1,000 4-H and FFA students and their coaches from more than 34 states together to test their skills in judging the flexibility of land for various purposes such as farming, range management, and home development.
“It felt like the world was in slow motion, and I could really hear my heart beat, even each breath I took. It is a feeling I hope everyone gets to experience at least once in their lifetime,” explained Paige on her recent national championship.
Paige is the daughter of Brian and Darcy Delaney and was raised on the family ranch, where her grandparents, Milt and Clarice Madison, still reside and work.
Working along side her family, the young cowgirl learned from a young age the importance of pastureland, hay land, and the difference it can make while raising livestock.
“My mom actually kind of made me start judging and started me in 4-H years ago.” Paige said her life experience and a lot of study over the years has given her the knowledge to be able to answer the questions at the national level. She said she intends on using this, as well as her 4-H experience, in her future career path.
Paige also competes in the North Dakota High School Rodeo Association where she is involved in multiple events. She is a team roping header, breakaway roper, barrel racer, and pole bender. She is also known for swinging a rope and being able to doctor, care for, or move anything that has four legs around the ranch.
Tisa Peek is a long time horse trainer, competitor in barrel racing and team roping, and writer about the equine. Rodeo and horses run deep in her roots. JT Family Equine is where she calls home, south of Bismarck, ND. Tisa, along with her husband, Jon, and boys, Blu and River, train horses, host horse camps for youth, and provide riding lessons.