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  • Sarah Kocher, Angus Communications

Mool named 2023 Junior Angus Herdsman

Illinois showman awarded 2023 Junior Herdsman of the Year.

Many awards come down to one judge’s opinion on one day. However, the 2023 Junior Herdsman of the Year, Ashlyn Mool from Illinois, was selected by a large group of her peers as recognition for years of excellent work.

“Out of every show, every award, this is probably the most meaningful because this is when you’re retiring and is voted on by your juniors, and that means a lot to me,” Mool said.

The award was created to honor an outstanding member of the National Junior Angus Association (NJAA) in their last year of eligibility. The individual must display a strong work ethic, dedication to his or her animals, and have skills in preparing their cattle for exhibition to a high standard. In addition to the Junior Herdsman of the Year belt buckle, Mool received $500 towards Boviteq IVF services and $500 towards Purina product credit.

“We always joke that if there’s ever an opportunity to show a calf, she’s going to show a calf,” said Garrett Lampe, a mentor of Mool’s. “She absolutely loves the competition and the show ring part of it, but she’s taken a lot of ownership in the daily management and even inside their cow herd with cow-herd duties.”

Mool said her sister paved the way for her during her early years of association involvement. She has since carved a path of her own by serving in leadership roles at the state level and earning recognition as the Illinois 2023 Herdsman of the Year.

Mool said one of the most challenging aspects of her junior career has been balancing time commitments, but she continues to prioritize her learning and encourages other herdsmen to do the same.

“You have to be able to learn and adjust because every animal is different,” she said. “Even now as a retiring junior I’m still asking a lot of questions.”

A Junior Herdsman of the Year award recipient also shows qualities of working well with others.

“She’s just a pretty incredible young lady,” Lampe said. “You can tell a lot of young people look up to her.”

One of her favorite parts of working with younger juniors is teaching them how to improve their showmanship skills.

“Six or seven years ago, I was not the best showman myself and then Gretchen and Garrett Lampe really helped me bloom into a showman, so I want to pass that along and help other kids,” she said.

Although Mool will age out of the NJAA, she plans to continue being involved with the breed as she and her family expand their herd. She will also continue her studies of agribusiness at Iowa State University in the fall of 2023.

To learn more about the NJAA or to view NJAS results, visit Additional coverage is also available on the NJAA social media channels and in the September issue of the Angus Journal.


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