Youth Test Skills on Eyeing Bison Quality
Junior Judging Competition Fosters New Bison producers

DENVER, CO (February 12, 2020) – Forty five students wandered around the pens of bison late last week at the National Western Stock Show in Denver, peering intently at the animals, and jotting down notes, before standing before a panel of seasoned bison ranchers to defend their reasons for favoring one animal over another.

When the dust settled and the competition ended, Lilian Stavig of Jefferson County, CO 4-H won the top senior high competition, and Cooper Sanchez of Showkids 4-H in Bear River, Wyoming walked away with the top junior individual honors, while two Jefferson County 4H teams took the top two honors in the Group Rankings.

The second-place winter in the senior competition was Elizabeth Schroeder, and the third-place honor went to Marty Kacsh, both of Jefferson County, CO 4-H. Stavig was awarded a $1,500 scholarship from the National Buffalo Foundation, Schroeder received a $1,200 scholarship sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Bison Association, and Kasch received a $900 scholarship sponsored by Rocky Mountain Natural Meats.

Jim Matheson, assistant director of the National Bison Association, helped coordinate the competition, and noted, “Our Junior Judging program is designed to help young people develop the skills to identify bison that will have hardiness in the pasture environment, will produce healthy calves, and will ultimately bring to market the high quality, healthy meat that our customers have come to expect.”

The Junior Judging competition is held annually at the National Western Stock Show by the National Bison Association and the Rocky Mountain Bison Association, which collectively represent nearly 2,000 members in 48 states and 10 foreign countries. Information on the National Bison Association is available at