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Young producer aspires to raise show cattle 

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Saige Ward grew up on a registered Hereford operation situated at the base of the mountains outside of Laramie, an operation which started with one Hereford heifer, a gift from Kevin and Jackie Nickel.

From there, the herd has grown to 200 head, now known as Ward Livestock. 

Throughout high school, Saige has showed cattle, sheep and goats, and when she wasn’t  in the barn, she could be found competing in a variety of career and leadership development events and leading her peers in various organizations. 

After completing high school, Saige attended Butler Community College in El Dorado, Kan., where she competed on the livestock judging team. 

After receiving her associate degree in animal science, she transferred to Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas where she was a part of the Reserve National Champion Livestock Judging Team and is currently pursuing her agricultural communications degree.

Saige is the daughter of Jeff and Lindsay Ward and has been very involved in the progression and operation of Ward Livestock throughout her life.

Following dreams

“I started livestock judging when I was eight years old,” Saige stated. “My hopes to be as competitive as possible led me to Greeley, Colo. where I was coached by Steve and Christi Gabel. Because of them and my parents willing to haul me two and a half hours to practice twice a week, my passion for the game grew beyond measure.”

Saige shared when the Gabel’s coaching in Weld County, Colorado came to an end, she returned to the team in Albany County, where she joined her two best friends Alexis and Kolton Lake. 

The three of them qualified to judge at the American Royal  for back-to-back years, and while there, Saige was the second high individual. The team ended as reserve national champions.

After high school, Ward continued to judge under the leadership of Coach Taylor Frank.

The future

Saige’s main goal has always been to produce show cattle to compete on a national level, in addition to raising two-year-old Hereford bulls for the ranch’s annual sale in November.

“However, as the operation progresses, I have begun to implement Simmental genetics into my cow herd with the goal of selecting the top end of these progeny to offer at the bull sale and enable myself to sell multiple breeding females in the production sale,” Saige explained.

Post college graduation, Saige plans to move back to Wyoming and help run the ranch. 

She said, “With growing goals and aspirations of what is to come from our program, I am excited to jump back in and be able to help make decisions on site, rather than from 18 hours away. “

In addition to her time spent on the ranch, Saige plans to start a social media and marketing consulting firm.

“I have a strong interest in media and marketing, and in addition to running the website for Ward Livestock, I also work for Texas A&M University’s School of Public Health’s Center for Health Equity and Evaluation Research (CHEER) department,” she added. 

The CHEER department engages in interdisciplinary research and evaluation services to reduce and eliminate health disparities, identifies emerging health needs of underserved and vulnerable populations globally and promotes quality of life and health outcomes for diverse segments of the population.

Saige also coordinates internal and external communications and works collaboratively on media projects and departmental events for the School of Public Health.

Trials and tribulations 

Ranching anywhere is tough, Saige explained, but ranching at 7,200 feet of elevation holds challenges in itself. 

“Fortunately, it was all I ever knew, so the trials it presented just became a part of everyday life. Growing up at Ward Livestock instilled the drive to continually work for what I wanted,” she stated. 

“As an operation continually trying to progress, our goals are set high, and sometimes they work out but sometimes they fail. The mindset of continued growth is at the core of Ward Livestock,” she added.

 Saige continued, “This mentality is reflected in nearly everything I do. From my education to livestock judging or making breeding decisions, an adaptive and attentive mindset has helped me develop into the person I am today.”

“For me, the most impressive part about the agricultural industry is the ability of producers from all different backgrounds to come together to meet a common goal. In addition to the competitiveness, monetary incentives and differences in operational practices, agriculture brings together a diverse group of individuals which aid in the industry’s continued progression,” Saige concluded.

Melissa Anderson is the editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to

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