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UW Wool Judging Team Grabs National Western Stock Show Crown

January 22, 2019
group of people with awards
Members of the champion University of Wyoming wool judging team are: standing, from left, Assistant Coaches Bryce McKenzie and Katie Hazlewood, Wilson Renner, Grace Corrette, Zach Davis, Megan Proctor, Amy Newman, Courtney Newman and Coach Whit Stewart; sitting, from left, Juan Gavette, Dallin Brady, Laurel Rigby and Dylan Laverell. (UW Photo)

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 last week.

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,” says 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, 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 says everything he challenged the team members to learn and improve upon, they did.

“The students on this team are unique,” Stewart says. “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,” Stewart says. “We are not about the individual but, rather, the whole team.”

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

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