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Casper – In his fifth year of coaching, Casper College Livestock Judging Coach Jeremy Burkett says, “This has been one of the most memorable years we have had in my short tenure here at Casper College.”

Overall, the team was one that competed to the highest level, winning a number of national competitions. 

“All the major teams from junior colleges across the country compete at the big shows,” says Burkett. “There were 21 to 22 teams at all the national contests. It is really competitive.”

He adds that, amongst the toughest competition across the country, Casper College repeatedly proved their ability to compete. 

Team members included Cade Christensen, Laddy Trehal, Nick Edelman, Dylan Freeman, Makayla Goodnow, Zoey Taucher, Sierra Crisp, Ethan George, Bailey Skinner, Bill Dalles, Lacie Potter, Emily Hasenauer, Julia Pawlitza, Josh Ovard, Sam Schulz, Lucas Drake, Chantz Potter, Katie Dodge, BW Ochsner, Colby Hales, Katy Pannell, Lisa Andreen and Logan Cecil. 

Judging success

Burkett notes, “Our team was consistently one of the top five in the country.”

The Casper College judging team won contests at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and the Arizona National. They placed second at the Iowa Beef Expo, second at the Kearney Cattleman’s Classic, third at the National Western Stock Show and fifth at the Flint Hills Classic in Manhattan, Kans. 

They saw a sixth place finish in Louisville, and placed sixth at the National Barrrow Show in Lakefield, Minn.

“This was a good bunch,” he adds. “I hope we can get a team like this every year.”

“Coach pushed us but in the end it really paid off.” Hasenauer declares. 

Team successes were only enhanced by individuals wins in many contests and species. Individual accomplishments were numerous throughout the year.

“It was awfully rewarding to compete at such  challenging contests with some of the most competitive schools in the nation,” says Hales.

Academic accomplishments

“Academically, we put a strong burden on our livestock judging teams,” Burkett comments, noting that the students not only carry a full course load but also practice and attend contests. “It’s  a huge commitment.”

Casper College students are not only competitive in the livestock judging arena, they are the most successful academically.

“We have three Academic All-Americans this year, as recognized by the junior college coaches,” Burkett emphasizes. “The honor goes off GPA and national contest performance.”

In coupling the top GPA and performance of student livestock judges across the country, the coach’s organization selects 15 students. 

“It is a great honor to have three of the 15 come from Casper,” Burkett says. “We are very proud of BW Oschner of Torrington, Laddy Trehal of Kiowa, Colo. and Katie Dodge of Spring Creek, Nev.”

“Simply put, it is pretty amazing to be an All-American, but it’s even better to be Dr. Burkett’s first team with not just one, but three, All-Americans,” states Ochsner.

Reaching their goals

Casper College Livestock Judging Team’s success hasn’t come without hard work and practice, however. 

“We practice a lot,” says Burkett. “We travel all over the country networking with producers, looking at livestock and giving these kids the opportunity to apply what they’ve learned.”

“This year has been amazing, and it wouldn’t have been possible without each and every person on this team,” claims Hasenauer. 

Potter adds, “There is no better way to end my junior college livestock judging career. It’s truly been a blessing.” 

Memorable team

“This year we had a very competitive team and a good bunch of students who were very strong academically, smart and easy to coach,” Burkett says. 

With students coming from all across the country, Burkett notes that the team is one of the closest he’s had the privilege of coaching, and they lived by the motto, “We are a family.”

“This team travelled to about 27 contests between their freshman and sophomore years,” he explains. “That is about 44,000 miles in a livestock judging van.”

In that time, Burkett says he and coach Jason Johnson have had the privilege to understand and get to know the students.

“We had have the privilege to really understand what these kids are about, what they are shooting for, what their values are and where they are going,” he comments. “It is very positive to see these students and their accomplishments.”

Johnson adds, “This is without question my most memorable team at Casper College. It’s also my first, but it will be a hard group to beat.”

“It’s been an outstanding ride getting to know these students,” Burkett adds. “It has been a lot of fun. This is something we can build on and continue moving forward to celebrate our success.”

Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Denver, Colo. – A number of Wyoming livestock judging teams saw success during the National Western Stock Show. Competing in the event on Jan. 16, both the Casper College Livestock Judging team and the Niobrara County Meats Judging team saw successes. 

4-H team

The Niobrara County senior 4-H Meat Judging team composed of Amber Jensen, Taten Gaukel, McKayle Mosley and Angelina Bannan tallied 2,039 points to capture fourth place honors at the National Western Stock Show (NWSS) 4-H Meat Judging Contest.  

In addition to placing fourth overall, this group was also second in placing of classes, fourth in retail cut identification (ID) and fourth in oral reason presentation. Eleven teams across the country competed in this event and a total of 43 contestants participated.

 Member results

Individually, Jensen paced the home team with a final score of 706 points out of the possible 750. This score tied Jensen for third place overall in the contest, and she received fourth place honors after the tie breaker was applied. She was awarded a $250 Scholarship from the Colorado State University Animal Science Department for this honor. 

In addition, Jensen tied with two other individuals for first place honors in retail cut identification with a perfect score of 300. She received the third place ribbon after the tie-breaker was applied. Jensen was also eighth in oral reasons and 12th in total placings.

Gaukel earned 676 points for 11th place honors, just missing the top 10 by four points. He was recognized for placing 10th in total placings and was 11th in retail cut identification.

Mosley had a final tally of 657 total points to place 14th overall in the competition. Mosley was honored for placing third in total placings and 10th in oral reasons.

Bannan rounded out the top 15 contestants with a score of 640 total points. She was also 13th in retail cut identification.

Preparing

The group practiced at the University of Wyoming in route to this competition. The contest was held at JBS Headquarters in Greeley, Colo., and members had the unique experience of touring and competing in this facility. This group joined the Wyoming delegation attending the Denver 4-H Roundup and enjoyed dinner at the Cheesecake Factory and attended a dance with the entire 4-H Roundup delegation.

This group earned the right to represent Wyoming at the NWSS by placing third at the state contest held in April 2013. Their trip was sponsored by the Teton County 4-H Council, Wyoming Pork Producers, the Niobrara County 4-H Judging Team Fund, which includes numerous county donors, and Casey and Tammie Jensen. 

The team was coached and chaperoned by Extension Educator Tammie Jensen.  

College level

The Casper College Livestock Judging team also spent numerous hours preparing for the event, with workouts starting on Jan. 2.

“We saw around 100-plus classes of cattle, sheep and goats. Coach pushed us but in the end it really paid off.” Emily Hasenauer, Casper College livestock judging team member, declared. 

The team finished third overall, with many individual successes. 

Laddy Trehal was seventh in swine. 

In sheep, Colby Hales was high individual, with Trehal placing eighth and Cade Christensen finishing ninth behind him. The team finished third overall in the sheep portion of the event. 

In cattle, Katie Dodge set the pace by winning cattle by three points and taking second in cattle reasons. Christensen set up at sixth in cattle, and the team took second place in cattle judging

Overall, Trehal took fifth in reasons. 

Additionally, Dodge ended up fifth overall, and Trehal was the second high individual 

Trehal comments, “It was really great to have all that work pay off. Hopefully this is just the beginning of successful spring season.”

As a team, the Casper College Livestock Judging team took third place overall.

Carload judging

The Casper team also competed in the Carload Cattle Judging Contest.

Dylan Freeman says, “It was a challenging contest because there was really good quality to sort. It was also a new experience for me that we won’t ever have the opportunity to do again. I really enjoyed the concept of it because it’s more real life applicable.”  

After the contest, the team ended up ninth overall, and Dylan Freeman ended up sixth high individual. 

Saige Albert, managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup, compiled this article. Send comments on this article to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

A Pine Bluffs farmer, rancher, feedlot owner-operator and a man of many hats in Wyoming agriculture has received an Outstanding Alumni Award from the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

William "Bill" Gross graduated in 1961 from the University of Wyoming (UW) with a bachelor’s degree in animal science. Upon his return home, he set about doubling the Gross-Wilkinson Ranch cow/calf and stocker operation. He added a feedlot, which now has an 8,500-head capacity.

Irrigated and dryland cropping are also part of the mix. Gross and his wife Phyllis, contributed five children to the Gross-Wilkinson Ranch legacy. They are Greg, Pat, Paula, Mary and Jennifer. Sons Greg and Pat have joined the daily running and overall direction of the enterprise.

“Bill has utilized the formal education he received at UW to build an outstanding farming and ranching operation,” says nominator Paul Lowham of Jackson. “He has grown it financially and has included family members who will ensure its sustainability.”

The Gross-Wilkinson Ranch, established by Gross’ grandfather in 1890, was honored as a Centennial Ranch by the state of Wyoming in 1990.

“I had the good fortune of working closely with the Gross-Wilkinson Ranch in the 1990s when they agreed to feed cattle for the Wyoming Beef Cattle Improvement Association’s Feedlot Test and Carcass Evaluation Program,” says Doug Hixon, then a UW Extension beef cattle specialist. “Since I was active in administering that Extension program, I saw ‘up close and personal’ the high level of expertise and professional approach that Bill’s leadership stamped on the Gross-Wilkinson operation. It is first-class in every sense of the word.”

Lives by the Code

“Bill and his family have lived by the principles contained in the ‘Code of the West’ ever since I have known them and long before that became a formal program adopted by the state of Wyoming,” says Hixon, now UW professor emeritus in animal science.

Among the code’s principles are always Finish What You Start; Do What Has to Be Done; Be Tough But Fair; When You Make a Promise, Keep It.

Gary Darnall of the Darnall Ranch in Harrisburg, Neb., has owned a yearling operation with Gross for 20 years.

“I could not ask for a better business partner,” he says. “Bill is fair, honest and a good businessman.”

Of the family ranch and feedlot, Lex Madden, owner of Torrington Livestock Markets, says, “He has a vision for improvement and is willing to see it through to completion.”

Madden notes with enthusiasm, “Bill and Phyllis have shown their family and others what dedication and hard work means.”

Gross opens his gates to groups who want to learn about farming and ranching. He readily shares his knowledge with young people and producers across the region.

Says Madden, “Many times people call me, and I forward them on to Bill because he is so well-versed in all areas of agriculture.”

Gross has developed a thorough understanding of integrated resource management, as well as beef production systems and best management practices.

Hixon notes, “He has studied marketing to the extent he is one of the sharpest individuals I know in relation to buying and selling cattle.”

Gross was born in Kimball, Neb. and attended elementary and high school in Pine Bluffs.

He is a shareholder and director of the Farmers State Bank in Pine Bluffs. Founded in 1915, the bank serves agricultural producers, businesses and community members in southeastern Wyoming, western Nebraska and northern Colorado.

He has served as a board member of Farm Bureau; Laramie County Agriculture, Soil and Conservation Service; and Pine Bluffs Co-op Grocery Store and is a member of St. Paul’s Catholic Church and Laramie County Stock Growers.

Giving to UW

In 2004, Bill and Phyllis and Gary and Emilie Darnall gave UW the boot – the decorative five-foot-high cowboy boot that greets visitors in the lobby of the Animal Science/Molecular Biology Building north of the stadium.

Yaks? Yes. Gross is working with associate professors Mark Stayton and Scott Lake of the Department of Animal Science on a program to breed yak-cow crosses. The yaks are from the Tibetan Plateau, where the average elevation is 14,800 feet. Their goal is to introduce genes from yaks into cattle to bolster altitude resistance and reduce incidence of brisket disease and bovine respiratory complex, which is the single most common cause of death among feedlot cattle.

In the end, however, altitude resistance is only useful to Wyoming ranchers if the animals have the traits necessary for efficient beef production.  With his eye for beef cattle, Gross evaluates the hybrids for their commercial potential. 

The Gross-Wilkinson Ranch has participated in the Steer-A-Year Program. Their gift of a live steer, along with those of other producers, raises money for in-state student athlete scholarships, the UW rodeo club and the animal science judging team.

“Bill Gross has worked his entire life to help agriculture stay strong – and the university in the process. His heart is truly in Wyoming and with the university,” says Madden.

Hixon adds, “He’s everything we always strived for in students who graduate from the University of Wyoming.”

“I had the good fortune of meeting Bill and his fine family shortly after arriving in Wyoming as Extension beef cattle specialist in 1982. Phil Rosenlund, the Laramie County educator at that time, took me on a tour of one of the best operations in his county, the one operated by Bill and Phyllis Gross and their family,” Hixon continues. “I soon became aware that it was not only one of the most outstanding and progressive operations in Laramie County but also in the state of Wyoming and the Rocky Mountain West.”

This article is courtesy of the University of Wyoming.

Denver, Colo. – The Catch-a-Calf (CAC) program at the National Western Stock Show (NWSS) is one of the oldest running programs, dating back to 1935. This year marks the 78th year of the program. 

“To be in the program no prior experience raising beef is required. For a lot of kids, this is a great way to see if handling and being around cattle is something that they are interested in,” said Molly Keil, NWSS co-superintendent of the program. 

Experience

Participants in CAC not only gain experience with handling cattle, but they also receive a better understanding of the beef industry and an opportunity to become more involved with it. 

“There are some kids who have raised beef for many years, and this is a just a chance for them to go to a higher level and show at the National Western, rather than at a local county or state fair,” explained Keil.

To participate, contestants must be from Colorado, western Kansas, western Nebraska or Wyoming and be between the ages of 12 and 18. A total of 34 contestants were at this year’s NWSS, and six of them were from Wyoming. 

Program

4-H members who become a part of the CAC program must attempt to catch a calf during one of the four rodeo performances at the NWSS. The 4-Her doesn’t take home the exact calf caught during the rodeo but is rather awarded a market animal.

“They go up there and just try to catch the calf. They can’t rope it, and they can’t trip it. They just have to grab onto a calf and put a halter on it,” stated Keil. 

After catching a calf, members return to Denver, Colo. in May, where they meet the sponsor who supplied the calf and are given their materials for the program. 

Sponsors of the CAC program can be a person, business or organization who has purchased a calf for the NWSS for a 4-H member to raise and show them. 

“The participants never truly own a calf. The calves are all owned by the National Western Stock Show, so the members are just entrusted with the steers to raise them,” said Keil. 

Requirements

The recipients of calves must keep a record book and write a monthly letter to their sponsor informing them about the progress of their steer, along with a personal touch about what is going on in their life. A copy of this letter must be submitted to Keil as well. 

Natrona County 4-H leader Devonine Mueller said, “The program is very good for the kids because it makes them learn record keeping and letter writing skills, along with how to feed cattle and their feed conversion rates. Plus they learn a lot about the beef industry.”

When the youth show up to NWSS the next year, they must also give a two-minute speech on what they have learned from the CAC program and how has it changed their view on the cattle industry. 

Grading

“All of these aspects of this program – the record book, the timeliness and detail in the sponsor letters – are graded on a point based system,” said Keil. 

Those scores are added to placings from shows at the NWSS to determine a champion and reserve champion in the program.

The winner of the CAC program does not necessarily have to place first in all of the market and showmanship classes. They do, however, have to place in the top four. 

“Considering we have four classes, that makes 16 steers eligible. However, the winner is based on all aspects of the program, including the record book, sponsor letters, placement in the market and showmanship classes,” said Keil.  

Continual Participation

“I’ve learned, throughout the years, that there are some participants in CAC that this is their first year of experience, and they have gone onto to start their own herds and be very involved with the ag industry,” said Keil. 

An example of this occurring that Keil gave was Paula Kennedy. Kennedy was a contestant for Miss Rodeo America and was a past CAC participant.  

Madeline Robinson is assistant editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


SIDEBAR:
Wyoming competes

Of the six Wyoming Catch-a-Calf (CAC) participants, two are from Natrona County, two are from Albany County and one come from each Platte County and Laramie County. 

The Natrona contestants are Tyra Zimmerle and Lainee Link. Zimmerle placed third in the overall CAC program and Link placed fifth. 

Kirby Hales and Tanner Wright are both from Albany County, and Hales placed second in the overall CAC program, while Wright placed 12th. 

Platte County participant Cindy Twiford placed 14th at the CAC and was in a tie for 10th place for the interview portion of the CAC. 

Hayden George was one of the top individuals for the sponsor letter portion of CAC and is from Laramie County. 

Wyoming participants in next year’s CAC are Joey Harris and Hailey Anderson from Albany County. Also, Wyatt and Clayton Atkinson from Natrona County will be competing in the program.

 

 

Cheyenne – On July 11, seven brand inspectors for the state of Wyoming retired, representing 273 years of brand inspecting experience. Jack Streeter, Dale Armstrong, PeeWee Johnson, Clyde Peterson, Jack Corbett, David Hollings and Sam Skiles received a belt buckle or pocket watch for their service.

“Take a good hard look at these guys and know that they and others like them have built our brand inspection program into what it is today,” said Brand Commissioner Lee Romsa. “I will be eternally grateful, personally for their hard work and dedication.”

Romsa further noted that the families of each brand inspector are also important, as they have dealt with late nights and sacrifices for their neighbor producers.

Wyoming Livestock Board (WLSB) member and rancher Mark Eisele commented that it is the dedication of brand inspectors that keeps cattle off the highways, sorted between the right operations and delivered to the buyers, with all the appropriate paperwork in order.

On behalf of Gov. Matt Mead, Policy Analyst Jessica Crowder said, “Congratulations on retirement, and thanks for the hard work and commitment through the years. Each of these men has put several miles on their trucks through the years, so we hope they enjoy the days where they get to sit back and relax a bit.”

Wyoming Livestock Board Director Steve True continued, “These men have taught me so much over the years, and I’m grateful to them for their service.”

Over 40 years

Peterson’s 49 years of service to the Wyoming Livestock Board was marked as the second longest in the agency’s history.

Romsa commented, “Clyde has been doing this for 49 years. His faithful service has been appreciated here.”

Peterson started inspecting when a neighbor retired, so several other brand inspectors recruited him for his service.

“I’ve been a part-time inspector for 49 years,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed it. I enjoy people, livestock and working with them.”

“There’s a lot of memories that I have. There’s a few neighbors I’d have coffee with and visit with,” Peterson continued. “I have a lot of memories.”

While he still enjoys brand inspecting, Peterson said he’s ready for his semi-retirement. He’ll continue ranching in the Lance Creek area.

Also from the southeast corner of the state, Armstrong lived near the sale barn in Torrington and hired on as a brand inspector with a good friend of his.

He soon became a supervisor for Converse, Natrona and Johnson counties and said, “I kept at it because I loved it.”

“Being around the livestock and, of course, the people, was enjoyable. I met some really nice people,” Armstrong said. “It’s just an interesting job.”

Looking back at his career, he remembers times with retired brand inspector Joe Hunter, where they returned livestock to their rightful locations and helped out producers.

Now that he’s retired, Armstrong said he and his wife Helen may travel, but they’ll certainly find something to do to keep busy.

Romsa said, “Dale, has always been there for me to help me out.”

Also with 45 years, Corbett worked as a brand inspector in the Lander area.

“Jack is an example of what we expect from brand inspectors,” commented Romsa. “We’ve used him as an example and to help train other in the Lander and Jeffrey City country.”

Corbett said, “I still get calls from the sheriff and others. It's been fun."

Jack Streeter of Gillette served for 45 years as a brand inspector, and Romsa said Streeter has been an integral part of the Wyoming High School Finals Rodeo.

“Thank you for letting me be a brand inspector,” Streeter said, adding that he plans to stay far away from the high school finals in the next few years.

More stories from the past

Sam Skiles of Kaycee was unable to attend the ceremony but retired after 33 years.

From the Pavillion area, Dave Hollings retired after 30 years.

He commented, “We’d get up when the Sheriff called in the middle of the night. We might not like it, but we did it.”

“I don’t know how time has gone so fast, but it did,” Hollings said. “I can’t believe it’s been 30 years. It was a good 30 years, though.”

Johnson of Lusk said he started brand inspecting when he was working for the county. The brand inspection supervisor for the county needed another inspector to help out, so Johnson jumped in.

“PeeWee is the old breed of brand inspector who can do anything – and he does it with a smile,” commented Romsa.

After 23 years, Johnson said he’ll continue working, but he also hopes to do a little bit of fishing.

“I loved to look at people’s cattle and the differences year to year,” he said. “I also enjoy meeting different people. There were also times I’d get a call from the Highway Patrol and got to go deal with others. I didn’t care for that as much, but we did it.”

Romsa commented that the time and sacrifice from brand inspectors is unrivaled by many in public service.

“These are great mentors,” said WLSB’s Paula Bivens. “They’ve helped me out wherever I’ve been. These are some great men.”

“I will always have the utmost respect for these brand inspectors,” Romsa commented. “I want to thank them all for everything they have done.”

Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at saige@wylr.net.