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New UW Livestock Judging Coach Quickly Hits Recruiting Trail

June 2, 2015
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Caleb Boardman is the new coach of the UW livestock judging team.

The University of Wyoming’s new livestock judging coach began corralling team members even before he opened his office door.

Frannie native Caleb Boardman joined UW’s Department of Animal Science in mid-May, even before putting finishing touches on his master’s degree in animal science with a ruminant nutrition emphasis at Texas A&M University.

“We were very lucky to recruit someone with the superior qualifications, industry knowledge and demonstrated skills Boardman has,” says Warrie Means, acting department head in the UW Department of Animal Science.

The Rocky Mountain High School graduate’s first competitive team will enter action in January at the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo in Denver. It will be the first UW team in two years.

“To build for that team, I started recruiting junior college students who judged competitively during the last year,” Boardman says. “That’s a popular thing, to go to a junior college and judge for two years, then transfer to a four-year school.”

He did that, gaining scholarships for livestock judging and attending Coffeyville Community College in Coffeyville, Kan., before entering Texas A&M and earning a bachelor’s degree in agribusiness.

He’s recruited from Casper College, Laramie County Community College, Northwest College and Eastern Wyoming College, and hopes to recruit UW students.

Anyone might be hard-pressed to find someone else so steeped in livestock judging. Boardman’s father, Russ, coached the Northwest College team for more than 18 years.

“I’m looking forward to working with the outstanding livestock producers throughout the state and exposing students to the variety of livestock operations and quality animals Wyoming has to offer,” Boardman says.

Livestock judges critique cattle, sheep, hogs and goats. Team members place live animals in 12 classes, and then are required to give eight sets of oral reasons explaining why they placed the animals the way they did. 

At times, students on the meat judging team also compete in livestock judging. Those students realize the goal of producers -- producing good-quality meat.

Boardman boasts of the benefits of judging livestock beyond product awareness. He says perhaps less than 10 percent of livestock judging team members return to run a livestock production operation; however, team members gain skills valued in other professions, too.

Students gain time management skills while juggling academic demands and the extra hours of judging practice, many times on weekends and evenings. Critical thinking skills are honed from having to briefly defend decisions orally. Traveling and competing across the country provides opportunities for contacts with industry professionals and with students on other teams. Team building and communication skills are strengthened.

Means says that, in addition to changes in the livestock judging program, the animal science meat judging team has enjoyed tremendous success recently, and the department will field a horse judging team this year.

“There is a ton of excitement out in the state surrounding the future of our collegiate judging programs,” he says.

Boardman invites students wanting to be part of the livestock judging team or others looking for ways to support the program to contact him at (307) 766-2159 or at

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