February 11, 2024

2024 Larry Higgins Bison Junior Judging Competition a Success

Over 50 students, 8-21 years old, participated in the Larry Higgins Junior Judging competition at the National Western Stock Show on Friday, January 19, 2024. This annual event is held in conjunction with the National Western Stock Show (NWSS), the National Bison Association (NBA) Winter Conference, and the Gold Trophy Show and Sale (GTSS).

2024 Bison Junior Judging participants gathered for instructions

Junior Judging participants gathered to hear instructions for the competition.

John Graves in the sale rink ready to present awards.

John Graves awarded Junior Judging winners.

Hosted by RMBA President, John Graves, students were asked to observe and rank four different classes of animals. They then scored and presented oral reasons to a panel of judges. The combined total of both scores led to the following winners:

Individual Winners

Junior Division

Bison Junior Judging - 2024 Junior Division Winners

1st – Gus Hester, 2nd – Lilyko Suzuki, 3rd – Riley Edling

Senior Division

Bison Junior Judging Senior Division Winners

1st – Brandon Hensley, 2nd – Nate Engstrand, 3rd – Bennett Morrison

Collegiate Division

Bison Junior Judging Collegiate Division Winners

1st – Hayden Holwick, 2nd – Caiden Healey, 3rd -Hannah Wiskus

Team Winners

Participants could also elect to participate in a team of 3 to 4 students.

  • First Place: Eastern Wyoming College (Caiden Healey, McKaylee Widdison, Kasey Krenzer)
  • Second Place: West Texas A&M (Mia Encinias, Hayden Holwick, George Greybill, Kaden Husband)
  • Third Place: Eastern Wyoming College (Garrett Greene, Hannah Wiskus, Simon Raff, Jordan Spall)

Congratulations to all winners!


Thanks to some very generous donors, scholarships were provided to the top three winners of the Senior and Collegiate divisions.

Senior Division

  • 1st place: $1,000 scholarship provided by Twin Brooks Farm
  • 2nd place: $750 scholarship provided by the North American Bison Discovery Center
  • 3rd place: $500 scholarship provided by bison veterinarian Dr. Gerald Parsons

Collegiate Division

  • 1st place: $1,500 scholarship provided by the National Buffalo Foundation
  • 2nd place: $1,200 scholarship provided by the Rocky Mountain Bison Association
  • 3rd place: $900 scholarship provided by Rocky Mountain Natural Meats

Thank You

RMBA would like to thank the following people for making the 2024 competition one of our best yet:

  • Scholarship Sponsors
  • GTSS Buffaleros
  • Dr. Charles Addington, Chase and Brittany Addington
  • NBA intern Meredith Halweg
  • NBA