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Wyo. Catch-A-Calf participants earn honors 

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Denver, Colo. – Several Wyoming 4-H’ers exhibited their Catch-A-Calf (CAC) projects at the National Western Stock Show (NWSS) Jan. 7-23. The contest is open to 40 participants, but this year, 29 exhibitors attended. Each contestant exhibited a high-quality, Charolais-cross steer born at the Wagonhammer Ranches. 

Each exhibitor was interviewed on Jan. 7 at the Stadium Arena Suites, and the CAC show took place on Jan. 8. 

Representatives of the Cowboy State included Jaemen Anderson of Riverton, Grace Baas of Laramie, Shayna Casey of Thayne, Taylor Dye of Powell, Cody McFarlin of Fort Laramie, Cerea Moffatt of Douglas and Hayden Robinson of Gillette.

This year, two Wyoming 4-H members won the 2023 NWSS CAC contest. 

Rowan Wasinger of Buffalo, representing Johnson County 4-H, earned the title of grand champion, and Lane Sinclair of Fort Collins, Colo., representing Albany County 4-H, took reserve. 

Eligibility requirements 

Beginning in 1935, the CAC program was designed for successful participants who catch a calf during a CAC contest, feed it and return the animal one year later as a market-ready steer at the NWSS.

During the process, participants maintain monthly contact with their project sponsor and submit monthly records and updates on their steer. Participants are encouraged to attend various progress shows, county and state fairs and other opportunities for experience. 

At the conclusion of the program, exhibitors showcase their animals at the NWSS. The program is open to active Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska and Wyoming 4-H and FFA members ages 14-18.

The steers are judged on production and carcass quality, while participants are judged on showmanship, record books and personal interview. The grand and reserve champion participants sell their steer at the Auction of Junior Livestock Champions held on the final Friday of the show. 

Exhibitor perspectives: Rowan Wasinger 

Rowan is the 16-year-old daughter of Kellie and Doug Wasinger. In November of 2021, Rowan submitted an application to participate in the CAC program. 

During the third performance of the NWSS in January of 2022, she caught her calf and later received her steer project in May. 

Her project, Trump, a Charolais/Angus cross steer made appearances at the Johnson County Fair, Wyoming State Fair and the Cheyenne Livestock Expo, before making his way to the NWSS, where he was crowned NWSS CAC Grand Champion. 

She notes she spent a lot of time with Trump and fed him full-range Purina feed, in addition to several Purina high-octane supplements to help with muscle growth. 

“Through this process we kept a record book, maintained monthly sponsor contact and submitted monthly updates on our projects,” says Rowan. “I loved meeting my sponsors and getting to meet so many great kids from Kansas, Nebraska and Wyoming.” 

“Participating in this contest was such a blessing, and I was really lucky to participate,” she adds.

For Rowan, participating in this contest has been a longstanding family tradition, with several of her family members participating in the contest. She shares one of her uncles won the contest the year he competed. 

“Getting into this program was amazing, and my mom always says, ‘When you give a girl a ribbon, you wind up at a national show,’ winning” she says. “I hope more kids will participate in this program because it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

She shares she has made a lot of friends throughout this process, including Lane Sinclair who was crowned the NWSS CAC Reserve Champion.  

CAC reserve champion: Lane Sinclair 

Lane is the 17-year-old son of Stacey and Mike Sinclair. He showed his steer named Poe at the Albany County Fair, Wyoming State Fair and Colorado State Fair. He shares he won all three of these shows with his CAC project, although winning NWSS CAC Reserve Grand Champion meant a lot to him.

“The feeling of winning reserve champion CAC at the NWSS is hard to put into words,” he says. “It was one of those feelings where you are in shock in the moment and don’t know what to feel. I dedicated so much time and effort to perform the best I could with my CAC, and seeing it pay off was truly amazing.” 

He shares he greatly appreciated the help he received from his family, friends, sister Shelby Sinclair and his sponsor John Matsushima and his family. His sponsor helped him improve his feeding ration, while he learned the importance of accurate record keeping when raising cattle. 

He learned valuable lessons through this program and encourages others to participate. 

“What this program taught me is to take every opportunity you get and make the best of it,” says Lane. “I didn’t waste a single moment of this program because it was such a special honor to be a part of.” 

He adds, “I got to meet numerous new people and friends who I will cherish for the rest of my life. I would strongly encourage others to participate in this program for learning opportunities, the friends and connections they will make along the way, being able to show at NWSS and having the opportunity to learn how to raise a steer effectively.” 

2023-24 contest 

Applications for the 2023-24 contest closed on Jan. 4. Qualified participants for next year’s show have been assigned an in-rodeo performance time they must participate in. 

Forty youth who participate and successfully catch a calf in an in-rodeo performance will be selected for the 2023-24 program. 

Steers are sourced from one herd and vary in breed from year to year. They are randomly assigned to each participant. This year, CAC contests are scheduled to take place during the Jan. 13 matinee performance, the Jan. 14 matinee performance and the Jan. 15 matinee and evening performances. Ten Wyoming residents have been chosen to participate in this year’s in-rodeo performance CAC contests. 

For more information on the CAC program, visit

Brittany Gunn is the editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to 

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