’63 Dairy judging team reunites at fair

By Thaddeus Miller / tmiller@losbanosenterprise.comMay 10, 2013 

This time 50 years ago, Los Banos High School was celebrating its FFA dairy judging team's win at the state level, enroute to a national championship.

"They worked together," coach Joe Cox said, adding the team was the first to place at all nationally. "They judged as a team."

The 1963 dairy judging team was made up of three sophomores and a junior. The four men reunited May 3, some of them during the Merced County Spring Fair.

Ron Simmons, a sophomore at the time, said the Los Banos community threw its support behind the boys through fundraising all those years ago. The lasting memory he had was the nearly 2,000-mile trip.

"Just imagine four young high school boys in a station wagon going across the country," the 65-year-old said, with a laugh. "What do you think they might get into?"

Simmons flew into town from Centerpoint, Texas, where he works as a forensic electrical engineer. He said he was investigating the explosion at last month's blast in West, Texas, that killed 14.

Fifty years ago, the Los Banos boys won against 37 other state teams in the national contest in Waterloo, Iowa. As competitors, FFA members must answer questions and show they know how to evaluate cattle.

Retiree Anthony Silva, 66, of Turlock said some of the skills he learned competing served him in his career.

"The big thing with dairy judging was (the) ability to speak before groups," the retired agriculture teacher said. "That probably was one of the things that stuck with me the most."

Silva said he went on to coach some national champions as a teacher. He said the 50 years went by quickly. "Seems like it was just the other day," he said.

John Gallicho, the sole junior on the team, still lives in Los Banos. He retired after 25 years as a hay broker.

"We were happy to do it," the 67-year-old said, "and glad to represent Los Banos."

The fourth teammate, Frank Miranda, got into Los Banos that night when the men planned to eat and reminisce.

Enterprise reporter Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 388-6562 or by email at tmiller@losbanos


Enterprise reporter Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 388-6562 or by email at tmiller@losbanos enterprise.com.

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