Members of the champion UW wool judging team

UW wool judging team grabs National Western Stock Show crown

The University of Wyoming’s wool judging team won the competition and a team member was overall champion at the National Western Stock Show in Denver Thursday.

UW competed against Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Angelo State University in Texas and Kansas State University. Each had two teams in the competition. UW had Gold and Brown teams competing. The Gold team was overall champion. Gold team members also claimed firsts in various categories.

This was the team’s first competition and was UW’s first wool judging championship at the show since 1997. UW has not had a wool judging team for 16 years.

“Everyone was pretty ecstatic about the win,” said team coach Whit Stewart, an assistant professor in the Department of Animal Science and UW Extension sheep specialist.

Gold team member Laurel Rigby of Ronan, Mont., was overall individual champion, first in the grading rail competition and was seventh in placings. Dallin Brady of Kimberly, Idaho, was third overall, first in placings and reasons, and ninth in the grading rail contest.

The Gold team was first in grading rail and third in placings.

The Brown team was sixth overall, and was sixth in placings and reasons and seventh in the grading rail category. Brown team member Amy Newman of Fort Collins, Colo., was first in placings, Grace Corrette of Brighton, Colo., was fourth in grading rail, and Juan Gavette of Everson, Wash., was sixth in reasons.

Stewart said everything he challenged the team to learn and improve upon, they did.

“The students on this team are unique,” said Stewart. “They epitomize learning to understand and not just superficially learning to compete. “

Stewart downplayed his contributions and praised his assistant coaches Katie Hazlewood of Riverton and Bryce McKenzie of Buffalo and graduate students for their efforts.

“We acknowledge the individuals who performed at a high level to win, but it was truly the whole team’s contributions that brought home the title for UW,” said Stewart. “We are not about the individual but rather the whole team.”

The team will next compete March 11 at the Houston Livestock Show.

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