Not too baa’d

Erin Beck

Friday the thirteenth: a day of bad luck, or, in this case, one of the best days ever, a thought that surely crossed the mind of the SDSU Wool Judging Team members.

On Jan. 13 the Wool Judging Team competed in the National Western Stock Show in Denver, Colo. and carried away the title of National Western Champions after winning the competition by one point.

“This is the first time since 1994,” said coach Lacie Hoffman, “and the third time that SDSU has won the wool contest.”

A team of seven participated at the competition, including: Tyler Grussing of Kimball, S.D., Brandi Raatz of Pipestone, Minn., Vince Ries of Aurora Center, S.D., Kate Anderson of Jackson, Minn., Laura Schoneman of Bingham Lake, Minn., Jacob Englin of Bruce, S.D. and Amanda Kammerer of Rapid City.

According to Hoffman, each member of the team had to judge six classes, grade 15 fleeces, and give two sets of reasons. Since the middle of September 2011 the team has been preparing and holding practices regularly, examining the staple length, yields, character and purity of the fleeces, as well as assigning them appropriate grades. The two sets of reasons they gave were the students’ explanations of why they placed the class the way they did.

Grussing, who won overall by eleven points in the competition, has kept a steady track record. Grussing, a senior majoring in animal science, has been on several judging teams at SDSU, including meat and livestock.

According to Animal Science Department head Clint Rusk, Grussing was a member of the Meat Animal Evaluation Team that placed fourth in the nation last spring.

“Tyler won a national meat judging contest, a national wool judging contest and was second in the National Meat Animal Evaluation contest,” Rusk said.

Hoffman also competed in wool judging. As a member of the Colorado State University’s Wool Judging Team, she and her teammates won the wool-judging contest in Denver, Colo. and in Houston, Texas. She is now at SDSU working on her master’s degree in meat science and coaching the wool judging team.

After completing the first hurdle of competition, the team is striving to win the National Championship in Houston, Texas, in March. If the team takes first in the Lone Star state, they will then be proclaimed the overall National Champions.