UW livestock judging team ends strong year with top 10 finish

10 members of the livestock judging team stand behind the many plaques and banners they won at competitions this year. Black banners with white lettering on each side display their top over all placings and individual high overall placing.
Members of the 2018 UW livestock judging team with their ribbons and awards are, back, from left, coach Caleb Boardman; Logan Henry, Joes, Colo.; Dallin Brady, Kimberly, Idaho; Alex Ames, San Clemente, Calif.; Carson Wurdeman, Node, WY; Tyler Shaw, Kimball, Neb.; assistant coach Colby Hales. Front, Laurel Rigby, Ronan, Mont.; Juan Gavette, Everson, Wash.; and Jessie Stewart, Johnstown, Colo.

The University of Wyoming livestock judging team completed their season with an eighth-place finish at the North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, Ky., Nov. 12.

Out of 29 universities competing, the team finished 5th in performance cattle, 5th in swine, 7th in cattle and 8th in reasons.

There were 138 contestants. Dallin Brady of Kimberly, Idaho, led the UW team finishing 6th in sheep and goats and was 17th overall. Juan Gavette of Everson, Wash., was 8th in swine and Tyler Shaw of Kimball, Neb., tied for 10th.

This marks the second consecutive year UW finished in the top 10 at the International following a 30-plus year drought.

“The team was hoping to finish the year with consecutive top five finishes after being fourth at the American Royal, but I am extremely proud of all of their hard work and accomplishments through the year,” said coach Caleb Boardman.

The team finished in the top eight at eight of the season’s 11 contests, including being in the top five four times.

The team also set numerous contest records for the UW program, Boardman said, including the top-three team all-time reasons scores. Two UW team members were named high overall at contests, with Logan Henry of Joes, Colo., winning at San Antonio, and Laurel Rigby of Ronan, Mont., winning the American Royal.

“We strive to get better every year,” said Boardman. He said recruiting plays a big part in improving and added he recruits from across the U.S. This year’s team is his third, and he said students from 10 different states have competed for UW.

The season runs with the calendar year, and a new team of 12 members will have its first competition New Year’s Eve at the Arizona National Livestock Show in Phoenix, followed by the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo in Denver Jan. 17-18.

The team starts practice Dec. 28 and will have 20-plus days or more than 200 hours of practice before classes start at UW Jan. 28.

He said most students say being part of a judging team is the most meaningful experience of their college careers.

“The time commitment is very similar to an athletic team, but most of our practices happen after 5 p.m. and on the weekends,” said Boardman. “The students are putting in an average of 20 to 30 hours of practice each week during our travel season. This includes winter break.”