The Junior Market Poultry Champions of The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™ were chosen Friday afternoon at the NRG Arena.

Friday’s event consisted of two judges for each division. The judges were Jason Mooney and Keith Scott for the broiler judging and Jacob Price and Jacob Leopold for turkey judging, all Texas A&M Alumni.

Mooney and Scott talked about their thought process while picking the overall champions.

“Maybe a little more in layman’s terms, if you’re feeding a family of 20, you want the biggest birds with the most meat so that everybody gets to eat,” Mooney said.

“What we’re looking for is the most amount of breast meat. The fleshing that we could get off there,” Scott said. “In the broiler industry, that is a premium part, so if you were to filet the three birds that are in there, which one would give us the most amount of breast meat.”

Kate Behnke ended her first time competing at the HLSR with a win to remember: she was named the Junior Market Broiler Grand Champion with her cockerel.

Junior Market Turkey Grand Champion Kathryn Johnson appeared at multiple prospect shows in preparation for her competition. Johnson said she would work consistently with her family and agriculture teacher to make her hen look best for the show. “I didn’t really know how to act ‘cause I was so overwhelmed,” Johnson said when asked how she felt when she saw the judges reaching for her hand.

“[You] can’t just go off of the total meat quantity. We go off total breast meat quantity, but when we start evaluating between the males and females you really have to judge based on sex, which one is the highest quality,” Price said.

Price also mentioned how simple it was to determine the champion turkey, “That turkey hen was more easily…and there is a larger gap between the first and second place hen.”

When asked what his favorite part of judging was, Scott said, “My favorite is working with the youth. We did it when we were kids. Our kids have done it. It’s kind of a way to give back to the youth and keep the 4-H and FFA strong and going.”

The champions will return to the NRG Arena Saturday, March 9, for the Junior Market Poultry Auction, starting at 11 a.m.

2024 Junior Market Poultry Champions:

  • Market Broiler
    • Grand – Kate Behnke, Fayette County 4-H, Cockerel
    • Reserve – Michael Jochen, Needville FFA, Pullet
  • Market Turkey
    • Grand – Kathryn Johnson, Alpha Omega Academy FFA, Hen
    • Reserve – Kayla Ehler, Rockdale FFA, Tom 

About the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo
The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo promotes agriculture by hosting an annual, family-friendly experience that educates and entertains the public, supports Texas youth, showcases Western heritage, and provides year-round educational support within the community. Since its beginning in 1932, the Rodeo has committed more than $600 million to the youth of Texas and education. The 2024 Rodeo is scheduled for Feb. 27 – March 17. The 2024 World’s Championship Bar-B-Que Contest, presented by Cotton Holdings, is scheduled for Feb. 22 – 24. For more information, visit and follow @RODEOHOUSTON online via Facebook, X (Twitter), Instagram and YouTube for all the latest news.