September 5, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.
"I was amazed," Kern said. "It's the ultimate goal."
Kern follows in the footsteps of his sister, Elizabeth, who was the top individual in the 2003 national contest. Kern is also the fourth 4-H member from Minnesota in the last five years to capture the top spot in the contest. Jessica Achen won in 2007 followed by Val Mohr in 2008 and Karen Anderson in 2009.
Kern tallied 679 points and won the contest by six points over Austen Schmidt of Wisconsin. In addition to being designated an All-American as one of the top 25 contestants in the contest, Kern received a $500 scholarship from the American Guernsey Association.
Kern and his teammates, Kelsey Mussman and Travis Thamert, finished sixth in team competition. All are from the Owatonna area and were on the Steele County team that won the state contest. Kern's father, Ken Kern, and Randy Paulson were coaches for the team.
"I praise my teammates highly," Kern said. "At the state contest, I was the low person on my team. It can really go any way."
Kern said he really worked on reasons and felt his past judging experience helped him for this contest.
All three team members were on last year's state champion FFA team that was second at the national FFA contest. Kern and Mussman then won the high school division at the international competition in Scotland.
"Coming into the contest I felt fairly confident," Kern said. "There were some difficult classes and I just went with my gut feeling with what I thought it would be and it worked out."
Kern was second in overall placings, third in Holsteins, seventh in oral reasons and eighth in Ayrshires.
Ken Kern said Andrew worked very hard and that the top five would have been awesome, but to win it is just really neat.
"I'm so happy for him," Ken Kern said. "Andrew had a really good day placing and talked good reasons as well. That's what it takes to win a big contest."
Kern is currently a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls majoring in dairy science.
Joey Adams of Waucoma, Iowa, received All-American honors with a 25th place finish to pace Iowa to 16th in the team race. Also on the team was Logan Worden of Oelwein, Iowa, who was seventh in Jerseys, Kathryn Appler of Clermont, Iowa, and Rachel Scott of Westgate, Iowa. Mike and Kathleen Scott and Katie Adams coached the Iowa team, which was from Fayette County.[[In-content Ad]]
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