Skip to Content

The Weekly News Source for Wyoming's Ranchers, Farmers and AgriBusiness Community

Wyoming Catch-A-Calf participants earn honors

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Several Wyoming 4-H’ers exhibited their Catch-A-Calf projects at the National Western Stock Show (NWSS) in January despite COVID-19 cancellations.

            “This program year looked very different from a typical year,” said Molly Keil, superintendent of the NWSS Catch-A-Calf Program and a former Albany County 4-H Extension Educator. “The only normal aspect was the kids got to catch calves at the NWSS rodeo, pre-pandemic.”

2020-21 results

            Wyatt Harrison from Basin received reserve champion in her showmanship class, second in record books, eighth in sponsor relations, ninth in the production phase and sixth overall.

            Haydan Huyser from Evansville received champion for his live placing class and second in the carcass contest.

            Wyatt Jarman from Rozet was seventh in record books and twelfth in production phase.

            Jaeden Cleven from Laramie was sixth in sponsor relations and tenth in production phase.

            Other participants included Cael Churches of Laramie, Brea Mills of Yoder and Evan Smith and Logan Stockton of Cheyenne.

Upcoming participants

            Due to the cancelation of the 2021 NWSS, there were no rodeos for the next group of applicants to catch their steers. With over 70 applicants, 40 names were randomly drawn to participant in the 2021-22 program year, shared Keil.

            Garrett Burkett of Evansville, Chelsi Green and Macie Hopkin of Cowley, Kayden Makinen of Rawlins, Yazmin Munoz of Burns, Jordyn Renquist of Rolling Hills and Tanner Rogers and Rachel Taro of Laramie have all been selected to participant in the 2021-22 Catch-A-Calf Program.  

Program information

            The Catch-A-Calf Program began in 1935 and is designed so participants catch a calf, feed it and return with the animal one year later as a market steer. They are judged on rate of gain, quality of fitting and carcass quality. The exhibitor is also judged on showmanship, record book and a personal interview.

            The cattle for the 2020-21 Catch-A-Calf Contest were Charolais/Black Angus cross purchased from Wagonhammer Ranch of Albion, Neb. Each participant has a sponsor who covers the costs of the steer, and in return the participant is required to write a monthly letter to their sponsor sharing progress of their steer and any general information about their life, shared Keil.

            Traditionally, an educational seminar to meet sponsors and distribute calves for participants is held in May at Denver. Instead, each state – Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas and Wyoming – had their own distribution sites, shared Keil.

            “The bonus was families didn’t have to travel so far,” she said. “The negative aspect was very few participants got to meet their sponsors.”

COVID-19 changes

            Zoom became the program’s go-to platform for answering questions and distributing requirements, shared Keil.

            When the 2021 NWSS was canceled, participants had their steers for just over four months and had four more left before the expected completion of the program.

            “It did send panic through the Catch-A-Calf families,” said Keil. “Thankfully, the leadership at NWSS recognizes the value of this program, and they knew how important it was for these kids to be able to complete what they started.”

            Typically, only the top two participants are able to sell in the NWSS Junior Livestock Sale based on total points awarded from all aspects of the project including sponsor relations, interview, record book, industry performance, documents submitted on time, showmanship placing and live placing. Each participant who completed all aspects of the project were able to sell this year.

            “Although this was far from a normal program year, these kids were rewarded for sticking with the project until the very end,” shared Keil.

                  This article was written by Katie Shockley and is courtesy of the University of Wyoming. For more information, e-mail Shockley at or visit

Back to top