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Casper College – Top ag students honored at end-of-year banquet

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Casper – The Oil City Ag Club and Casper College Rodeo Club sponsored the 2015 Casper College Ag Club and Rodeo Awards Banquet on May 5. 

This year, Casper College’s Ag Department is setting records, said the Department Head Heath Hornecker.

“We will graduate 48 student from the Ag Department on May 15 – a record for us,” said Hornecker.

Outstanding students

The Casper College Ag Department recognizes two sophomore students and two freshmen students each year for their work within the Department. 

This year, Luke Fuerniss and Tate Chamberlain were recognized as outstanding sophomore students. 

“Luke is an animal science major who is also involved in livestock judging,” said Marty Finch, agriculture instructor in the Casper College Ag Department, in describing Fuerniss’ achievements. “He has a 4.0 grade point average and is always the one who sets the curve, whether we are talking about scores in class or in our livestock judging contests.”

Finch mentioned that Chamberlain is also a livestock judging student who holds high expectations for himself and consistently has a positive attitude. 

“Other students look toward Tate as their role model,” Finch added. “I look forward to following his career to see his accomplishments in the future.”

Freshman class

As the outstanding freshmen ag students, Baxter Heinert and Quade Palm were recognized for their involvement in the college and their leadership. 

Todd Jones, also of the Casper College Ag Department, touted their accomplishments. 

“Baxter is an animal science major, a former Wyoming FFA state officer and a member of the livestock judging team,” Jones said. “She is very, very involved in the Student Senate. Baxter brightens every room she comes into.”

Jones added that Palm is one of the hardest working students in the department this year. 

“Quade is the first one to step up and the last one to leave,” Jones said. “He is really active and is involved as a student in every way he can be.” 

“We congratulate these students on their hard work over the past year,” Jones added.

Livestock judging awards

Casper College Livestock Judging was also recognized at the event. This year, 13 freshmen and a long list of sophomores spent the year practicing, traveling and judging livestock.

In recognizing the achievements of the livestock judging teams, an outstanding freshman and sophomore judging student were selected. 

“Dr. Burkett and I have the honor of working with these students all year long,” said Jason Johnson, assistant livestock judging coach and Casper College instructor. 

As the outstanding freshman individual, Tyler Pickinpaugh was selected. 

“I think everyone standing up here would agree that Tyler is definitely a leader for his team,” he continued. “He steps forward to work hard and pushes the entire team to not only want to do better in competition but to do better in life as well.”

Graduating sophomores

“We just finished up our year,” Johnson commented of the sophomore team. “I can’t say we had a banner year with our livestock judging team, but this group of students has the heart and try of champions. They have the will to win. These young people are going somewhere.”

Though it was a challenging year for livestock judging, Johnson commended students for their work ethic and their ability to continually improve. 

Fuerniss also received the award of outstanding sophomore judging student.

“Luke always pushed his teammates to be better,” Johnson noted. “There were times his teammates probably wanted him to quit setting the curve, but I guarantee every one of these students was made better as a result of this young man.”

In addition to being a Casper College Outstanding Sophomore Judging student, Fuerniss was one of 15 Academic All-American students from junior colleges across the U.S.

As a last recognition, the Big Heart Award was presented to Tate Chamberlain for his positive attitude and consistent ability to inspire his teammates. Chamberlain’s hard work and dedication to judging, his education and the Casper College Ag Department earned him the award.


In addition to student awards, Casper College also presented scholarships to their students.

“There are quite a few scholarship recipients this year,” Hornecker commented. “We are amazed at the amount of money we get to give away and the number of students we recognize each year.”

This year, there were over $60,000 in ag scholarships from the Casper College Foundation.

“We appreciate the work and help of our supporters and donors,” Hornecker added, “but we couldn’t do any of this without the hard work of our students.”

Look for the awards presented to the Casper College Rodeo Team in an upcoming edition of the Roundup. 

Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at

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