Wood keeps busy schedule
Laramie – William “Billy” Wood of Laramie has not let anything stop him this showing season. Not even a rodeo accident, the duties of State FFA and 4-H officers or his diabetes will keep this driven showman down.
“The best part about showing is being able to spend time and talk with the people who aren’t as educated as others about livestock and seeing their knowledge and interest grow,” Wood says enthusiastically.
With 14 milking goats, six kids, market goats, breeding meat goats, breeding dairy goats, market hogs and a cow/calf pair, Wood will be showing a small ranch at the Albany County Fair held July 26-Aug. 3 in Laramie.
“After being stepped on by a bull and breaking my collarbone, sternum, several ribs, lacerating my liver and bruising and puncturing my lung, it was painful showing my livestock,” Wood admits.
“I didn’t show my two goats because it takes two arms to show them,” he continues. “I stuck to showing hogs. I used my good hand for the show stick and kept my broken side secured to my stomach.”
Doctors gave Wood a clean bill of health and told him he had regained full range of motion the first week of July. Wood is now looking to continue his winning streak at fair.
“I was walking the hogs the other day and was really able to study them. I started to get really excited about them, and I think they are going to do really well this year. I never know what other people are going to bring though,” Wood says.
“I feel really comfortable showing my dairy goats because I am the only one around that really shows them,” he adds.
Wood has been the Premier Dairy Goat Showman at the Wyoming State Fair since 2009 and the Premier Meat Goat Exhibitor since 2010.
More than just livestock
In addition to showing livestock, Wood has been an incredibly active member in 4-H for the past 11 years and FFA for four years.
“I compete in shooting sports, cooking, sewing, woods, welding, leather, modeling and visual arts,” Wood lists. “I do just about everything.”
“I also was the premier exhibitor in agronomy last year at state fair,” he adds. “I collected grass and weed samples and dried them. I had the most varied collection there.”
Wood also serves as third vice president in Wyoming FFA Association and is on the Wyoming State 4-H Leadership Team. With 4-H, he helps at state competitions, the showcase showdown and the state shoot.
Wood also contends with his diabetes while maintaining this hectic schedule.
“I am a diabetic on top of all of this,” Wood says. “I was diagnosed with Type I diabetes at age three.
“The heat at fair and being busy really drops my blood sugar. To raise it, I drink juice, but when my sugar gets too high, I get cranky and no one wants to be around me,” jokes Wood. “I keep my sugars up with the animal crackers that I feed my goats. It is one for them and two for me.”
College and beyond
Wood, son of Mary Louise and Dale Wood of Laramie, recently graduated from Laramie High School and will be attending Casper College in the fall. There, he will complete his prerequisite courses and judge on the livestock judging team.
“Casper has a great judging coach right now, and he and I get along really well,” Wood says. “Last year, Casper won the national judging contest. As a Wyoming State FFA officer, I am required to stay and study in the state, and Casper has had more success with their team than the other colleges.”
After graduating from Casper, Wood plans to study at Texas Tech or Kansas State University to continue his judging career and obtain a degree in agriculture education with a double minor in agriculture business and ranch management.
“My dad was a teacher in the 70s and 80s, and I have always had a large heart for agriculture,” Wood says of his career choice. “I want to give back to others what FFA has given to me.”
Kelsey Tramp is the assistant editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.