Conzelman focuses on sheep
Hulett – Bryce Conzelman began his 4-H career showing sheep at county and state fairs when he was eight years old. He will be a senior at Hulett High School this fall and enjoys helping younger children become engaged with 4-H.
“I try to get as many kids involved in 4-H as I can, especially in Crook County where our numbers are really down,” he states.
Conzelman raises his own market lambs and sells them to fellow 4-H members and prospective members. His market lambs originated from his brother’s sheep herd, a herd that Conzelman now manages.
“Our sheep herd started from three to four bum lambs that my brother first bought, and it has just kept growing from there,” he explains.
Conzelman mentions that even when adolescents want to be involved in 4-H but are unable to purchase a lamb upfront, he gives them the option of paying him back from their sale money of the lamb.
His sheep herd now contains 48 ewes, and with this year’s lambs and rams, the herd size amounts to 85 head.
Showing his sheep has been a large part of Conzelman’s life, and he has been successful with it.
Last year at Crook County Fair, Conzelman was the overall champion for the ram, ewe and market lamb classes, as well as the champion in several sheep showmanship classes and market swine classes.
“While I enjoy sheep the most because I like raising them and have them all year round, I have also shown steers for two years and pigs for the last 10 years,” comments Conzelman. “Most of my involvement and effort goes into sheep.”
“My favorite memory in 4-H is watching my sheep grow from lambs and continuously become better as they are yearlings,” he reminisces. “I also enjoy seeing how well they show at the county and state fairs.”
He adds, “It’s fun knowing all of the inputs that go into my sheep and then seeing the results of my efforts raising them.”
Conzelman attributes 4-H and FFA with helping him develop and improve on his business skills and being more comfortable with public speaking.
“Selling market lambs in 4-H has helped me to figure out the best way to make a profit on my lambs and find producers where I can purchase other sheep to enhance the bloodlines within my own herd,” he describes.
Conzelman is also a member of the Devils Tower FFA chapter.
“Through 4-H and FFA, I’m able to meet a lot of kids and make friends, who, maybe even 10 or 15 years later, I will still know and be good friends with,” says Conzelman.
When asked what advice he would pass on to younger and new members of 4-H, Conzelman replies, “I would tell them to not hold back on anything. If they are given an opportunity to do something they should not let that opportunity pass them by.”
He adds, “Those kids should take the opportunity presented to them and see where it takes them. A lot of times they will miss out on those opportunities, and they can learn immensely from all the experiences that 4-H and FFA can give them.”
One opportunity that has been presented to Conzelman through 4-H is an internship in Iowa from a sheep producer. Conzelman purchased his market lambs from this producer for several years.
“The guy I buy my market lambs from, Kolby Burch, wants me to do an internship next summer at his place, help him with all of his sheep and go to some more shows,” he says. “He’s going to teach me how he runs his operation and showing techniques, so I can gain more experience.”
After Conzelman graduates high school, his plan is to do the internship in Iowa then attend classes in Torrington at Eastern Wyoming College to earn his welding and joining technology degree and a certificate in machine tool technology.
From there, he plans to continue his education at an institution in North Dakota to pursue being a diesel mechanic.
Madeline Robinson is editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.