While many were enjoying the holiday break with their family and friends, the Casper College Livestock judging team was hard at work preparing for the National Western Stock Show in Denver. The Thunderbird team started their journey in early January and worked out at numerous ranches, feedlots, and other mock contests.
“We saw around a hundred plus classes of cattle, sheep, and goats,” said Emily Hasenauer, 2012 Wallace graduate, a sophomore in agri-business at Casper College who is a member of the judging team. “Coach [Jeremy Burkett] pushed us, but in the end it really paid off.”
After working out for two weeks it was time for the team to head to Denver. The National Western Stock Show Contest was a big stepping-stone for the team after finishing sixth at Louisville, Ky.
The team bounced back to prove to themselves and to the nation that they were there to compete. And compete they did!
The team finished third overall, with many individual successes. Laddy Trehal, Kiowa, Colo., was seventh in swine. In sheep Colby Hales, Laramie, Wyo., was high individual with teammates in tail with Trehal eighth, Cade Christensen, Peyton, Colo., ninth, and the team third overall.
In cattle, Katie Dodge, Spring Creek, Nev., set the pace by winning cattle by three points.
“Denver is a special contest because it’s so close, of all the miles we travel. It was a great contest, it always feels good to win and set a precedence for the rest of the year,” said Dodge
Christensen was also sixth in cattle. Being such a cattle driven contest they also had high individuals for cattle reasons with Dodge second overall. This set them up to place second team overall in cattle. Trehal would be called again for fourth in reasons.
Finally, high individuals were announced, and Dodge ended up fifth overall and Trehal was second high individual. He was excited to be called up once again.
“It was really great to have all that work pay off. Hopefully this is just the beginning of a successful spring season!” he said.
The Casper College team also competed in the Carload Cattle Judging Contest at the National Western on Jan. 17. Dylan Freeman, Cheyenne, Wyo., said “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. But I really enjoyed the concept of it because it’s more real life applicable.”
The team ended up ninth overall and Freeman ended up sixth high individual.
Assistant Coach Jason Johnson was proud of the team and their hard work over the last couple of weeks.
“It was good to start the season on a high note. This group of kids is so talented and are truly dedicated to the team. But we are never content and we will continue to work hard and push for the remaining season,” he said.
The team will head north to Sioux Falls, S.D. and will compete at Ft. Worth Livestock Show, Fort Worth, Texas; San Antonio, Houston Livestock Show, and Nebraska Cattlemen’s Classic held in Kearney.
Their hard work and dedication hopefully will continue to help them in the remaining contests.