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Wyo students win big at NWSS

Written by Saige

Denver, Colo. – Wyoming students swept the awards at the recent show Catch-A-Calf at the National Western Stock Show (NWSS)

Kara Reynolds of Laramie and her steer Bodie took home first prize in the market judging and showmanship categories of the show.  

“This experience has really inspired me to want to do better and pushed me to be a better cattle showman,” Kara says. “Before this, I had shown some cattle before with little luck, and doing well with Bodie made me want to do more.”

Kara’s mother Shelly says the program really became a family affair and brought them closer together.

“Kara’s dad showed steers growing up, and it was really great to see all of our kids and their dad working towards this goal,” says Shelly.

Kara describes her preparation for NWSS as a daily task. 

“Everyday that it wasn’t too cold, I would wash and dry Bodie and then take him for a walk,” says Kara. “We went to a lot of small shows beforehand to get ready, and it was really exciting to do well with him.”

Kara is a straight-A student at Laramie High School, where she is currently a junior. She is the president of the Critter Creek 4-H club and an active member of the parliamentary procedure team of her FFA chapter.   

Generational catcher

Quentin Meyer of Torrington also found success at the NWSS Catch-A-Calf contest, bringing home first place accolades for the interview and record book portions of the contest. 

“I’m a third-generation catcher,” Meyer says. “My dad and my grandpa both caught, and a lot of my other family members have participated in the program, as well. It’s really become a family tradition.” 

Meyer described his preparation process as a juggling act with his busy senior year schedule. 

“I tried to get my steer really gentle and halter broke during the summer when I had the most time to work with him,” says Meyer.

“I’ve showed sheep for a long time, but this is the first time I’ve showed cattle,” Meyer says. “It was overall a really great experience to show in Catch-A-Calf.” 

Meyer is a senior at Torrington High School where he is heavily involved with FFA, 4-H and the wrestling team. Meyer will be attending Casper College in the fall on a full-ride scholarship for livestock judging. 

History and format

“The contest has been around since 1935,” says NWSS Catch-A-Calf Superintendent Molly Keil. “It started with just 10 steers and has grown to include 40 in the show each year.”

“The contest is neat. The parents and grandparents of some of our kids participated in the contest, and a lot of our sponsors were participants themselves,” says Keil. 

The Catch-A-Calf program invites 4-H students from Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska and Wyoming to participate in the program. 

As the name would suggest, students must catch a calf during the initial phase of the competition, feed it and then return the following year for the show. Students are judged on the quality of the animal, as well as an interview and record book.

While students compete for a spot to participate during the NWSS, they will not receive their calf until May. 

When they receive a calf, participants also meet their sponsor and begin building a relationship, according to Keil. Participants are expected to write letters each month keeping their sponsors upto date on the progress of their project. 

For the contest to be as fair as possible, the cattle being exhibited come from the same herd. This year’s contest features Red Angus cattle from the Wagonhound Ranch in Douglas. 

Callie Hanson is the assistant editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..