Casper College judging sees top year
Casper – In his fifth year of coaching, Casper College Livestock Judging Coach Jeremy Burkett says, “This has been one of the most memorable years we have had in my short tenure here at Casper College.”
Overall, the team was one that competed to the highest level, winning a number of national competitions.
“All the major teams from junior colleges across the country compete at the big shows,” says Burkett. “There were 21 to 22 teams at all the national contests. It is really competitive.”
He adds that, amongst the toughest competition across the country, Casper College repeatedly proved their ability to compete.
Team members included Cade Christensen, Laddy Trehal, Nick Edelman, Dylan Freeman, Makayla Goodnow, Zoey Taucher, Sierra Crisp, Ethan George, Bailey Skinner, Bill Dalles, Lacie Potter, Emily Hasenauer, Julia Pawlitza, Josh Ovard, Sam Schulz, Lucas Drake, Chantz Potter, Katie Dodge, BW Ochsner, Colby Hales, Katy Pannell, Lisa Andreen and Logan Cecil.
Burkett notes, “Our team was consistently one of the top five in the country.”
The Casper College judging team won contests at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and the Arizona National. They placed second at the Iowa Beef Expo, second at the Kearney Cattleman’s Classic, third at the National Western Stock Show and fifth at the Flint Hills Classic in Manhattan, Kans.
They saw a sixth place finish in Louisville, and placed sixth at the National Barrrow Show in Lakefield, Minn.
“This was a good bunch,” he adds. “I hope we can get a team like this every year.”
“Coach pushed us but in the end it really paid off.” Hasenauer declares.
Team successes were only enhanced by individuals wins in many contests and species. Individual accomplishments were numerous throughout the year.
“It was awfully rewarding to compete at such challenging contests with some of the most competitive schools in the nation,” says Hales.
“Academically, we put a strong burden on our livestock judging teams,” Burkett comments, noting that the students not only carry a full course load but also practice and attend contests. “It’s a huge commitment.”
Casper College students are not only competitive in the livestock judging arena, they are the most successful academically.
“We have three Academic All-Americans this year, as recognized by the junior college coaches,” Burkett emphasizes. “The honor goes off GPA and national contest performance.”
In coupling the top GPA and performance of student livestock judges across the country, the coach’s organization selects 15 students.
“It is a great honor to have three of the 15 come from Casper,” Burkett says. “We are very proud of BW Oschner of Torrington, Laddy Trehal of Kiowa, Colo. and Katie Dodge of Spring Creek, Nev.”
“Simply put, it is pretty amazing to be an All-American, but it’s even better to be Dr. Burkett’s first team with not just one, but three, All-Americans,” states Ochsner.
Reaching their goals
Casper College Livestock Judging Team’s success hasn’t come without hard work and practice, however.
“We practice a lot,” says Burkett. “We travel all over the country networking with producers, looking at livestock and giving these kids the opportunity to apply what they’ve learned.”
“This year has been amazing, and it wouldn’t have been possible without each and every person on this team,” claims Hasenauer.
Potter adds, “There is no better way to end my junior college livestock judging career. It’s truly been a blessing.”
“This year we had a very competitive team and a good bunch of students who were very strong academically, smart and easy to coach,” Burkett says.
With students coming from all across the country, Burkett notes that the team is one of the closest he’s had the privilege of coaching, and they lived by the motto, “We are a family.”
“This team travelled to about 27 contests between their freshman and sophomore years,” he explains. “That is about 44,000 miles in a livestock judging van.”
In that time, Burkett says he and coach Jason Johnson have had the privilege to understand and get to know the students.
“We had have the privilege to really understand what these kids are about, what they are shooting for, what their values are and where they are going,” he comments. “It is very positive to see these students and their accomplishments.”
Johnson adds, “This is without question my most memorable team at Casper College. It’s also my first, but it will be a hard group to beat.”
“It’s been an outstanding ride getting to know these students,” Burkett adds. “It has been a lot of fun. This is something we can build on and continue moving forward to celebrate our success.”
Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.