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Wyoming youth wins national contest

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

The National Make It With Wool (MIWW) Contest was held in conjunction with the American Sheep Industry Association Convention in Denver during the weekend of Jan. 13-14, and one of Wyoming’s own returned home with a national champion title. 

With her unique plaid dress and one-of-a-kind green coat, Madi Dunning of Encampment outshined 22 junior contestants during the National MIWW Contest, bringing home honors as the winner of the Top Junior Construction Award, the second-place Machine Embroidery Award and the title of 2024 MIWW Junior National Champion. 

“Wyoming has had three national adult winners in previous years, including Becky Sintek, Carol Macy and myself, but I have talked to several people and we believe this is the first time Wyoming has had a junior national winner,” noted Lynda Johnson, a former MIWW contestant who served as Wyoming state director from 2013-18 and national director from 2019-23, as well as Dunning’s sewing instructor for the past seven years. 

“I am very proud of Madi and her desire to learn and increase her sewing and tailoring skills, especially over the past three years as she competed at the national level of the contest,” Johnson continued. “This year she set a goal to win, and she met her goal. I believe the result was well deserved.”

A year of success

Dunning got a taste for sewing – and winning – during her first MIWW contest seven years ago and has been chasing her dream ever since. 

“MIWW has multiple different divisions for different age groups, and my first year, I entered the pre-teen contest for eight- to 12-year-olds,” she explained. “I won and got a taste for sewing, so I just kept doing it.” 

This year, Dunning’s creation included a plaid dress and green coat ensemble. 

“My inspiration this year was the green wool for my coat. I saw it and thought it was so unique, I wanted to make something really special out of it,” she shared. 

And that she did. In fact, Dunning’s design wowed at every level of competition this year.

During the MIWW Wyoming State Contest, held in conjunction with the Wyoming Stock Growers Association Winter Roundup Convention and Trade Show in Casper on Dec. 4, Dunning also took home top honors in the junior division. 

At the national contest, Dunning’s win came with a plethora of prizes including a $1,500 scholarship from Pendleton Woolen Mills, a $500 cash award from the National MIWW program, a length of wool fabric, a sheep pelt, a garment bag and sash and various other sewing prizes. 

“I was super excited to win the national contest,” Dunning stated. “When I heard my name get called, I was jumping up and down with a smile on my face. It was so exciting. I am still really happy and excited about it.”

Looking ahead

Under MIWW guidelines, national contest winners are not able to compete in the program for a year. However, Dunning noted she already has ideas for her next project and is eager to get started. 

“I guess I will be taking a little time off, but I definitely have ideas for my next project,” she stated. “I want to make pants and another coat or a skirt – there are just so many things I want to do and ideas I want to try. I know I have a while to think about it, but I am super excited to compete again the next time I am able to do so.”

Although she will be taking a hiatus from competing in the program, Dunning will stay involved with MIWW. In fact, during the national contest Dunning was also selected as a National MIWW Junior Ambassador for 2024. 

In this role, Dunning will utilize social media and in-person campaigning to promote the MIWW program and encourage more people to get involved. 

“I plan on attending local 4-H contests, our district contest and our state contest to promote MIWW and talk to people,” she said. “It is important to get people involved.”

Hannah Bugas is the managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to

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