UW Range Club receives prestigious Trail Boss Award, other honors at SRM meeting
University of Wyoming (UW) Range Club members brought the prestigious Trail Boss award back to Wyoming for the second time, according to Derek Scasta, UW Extension rangeland scientist and Range Club coach.
Trail Boss Award
“The Trail Boss Award is the Superbowl of range competitions,” Scasta explains. “The award is dependent on participation and success at the Society for Range Management annual meeting.”
According to the Society for Range Management (SRM), the Trail Boss Award is a traveling trophy awarded annually to the college that generates the highest aggregate score for both accomplishment and participation in the collegiate student activities conducted during the SRM Annual Conference.
Scasta explained the competition takes into account the number of students participating and how successful they are in a number of competitions, including plant identification, public speaking, undergraduate research and a professional test.
“University of Wyoming is one of only two universities to have ever won the Trail Boss Award twice,” Scasta explains. “Previously, University of Utah was the only university to win the award twice.”
UW beat out 26 other colleges and universities across the United States, Canada and Mexico.
In addition to the Trail Boss Award, the team brought home first place honors in public speaking and multiple other top 10 finishes.
Four members of the team were also elected into leadership positions within the Young Professional’s Conclave.
The Young Professionals’ Conclave (YPC) consists of a highly prestigious group of senior undergraduate students, graduates and professionals within the first five years of their careers.
Representing UW are seniors Averi Reynolds and Jaycie Arndt.
Reynolds got involved with the conclave after serving as vice president of the Student Conclave in 2018.
“As a member of the student conclave, I got to attend the national board meeting for the Society of Range Management,” she says. “After participating there and getting to give recommendations on membership, I graduated to the Young Professional’s Conclave.”
Learning and guilding
Reynolds says her goal as part of the conclave is to build avenues of communication between younger undergraduates, young professionals and longtime members of the society.
“I was lucky to establish great contacts early on in college, and I really hope to help other students in doing that,” Reynolds notes.
Reynolds will continue her education at UW and plans to apply her knowledge of range management to her planned grazing research in graduate school.
According to SRM, YPC provides opportunities to help build relationships between students, graduate students, young professionals and long-time members. YPC is the initial liaison for undergraduate students, graduate students and young professionals seeking an active role and participation in SRM.
The mission of YPC is, “to strengthen the relationships between students, apprentice members, young professionals and experienced professionals within SRM to promote strength in leadership, education, research and stewardship of rangelands.”
“Range Club has a very long history at UW,” Scasta says. “There are numerous opportunities for students involved in the club.”
Scasta explains the biggest perks of being a part of the organization is networking. Since the UW club is affiliated with the national SRM, there are lots of opportunities for students to network.
“We bring our students to a variety of meetings and events sponsored by SRM,” he explains. “This gives students the chance to interact with industry professionals.”
He explains the organization is multi-faceted in that students are able to network and practice skills learned in the classroom.
“These competitions allow students to practice the skills they learn in the classroom as well as develop soft skills such as public speaking,” he explains. “This shows students are capable of more than just regurgitating information.”
“We want to provide students an avenue to plug into the range discipline whether that be by winning contests, securing a job or going back to the ranch armed with knowledge,” says Scasta.
“We have students who go on to work in research or in government services such as Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service or Extension,” according to Scasta.
Scasta notes the club is looking forward to the Wyoming State Range Society meeting in the fall, as well as the club banquet in April.
“Going into the summer many of our students will be beginning full-time jobs as well as pursuing internships in research and in the field,” Scasta says.
Callie Hanson is the assistant editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.