Judith Gap student is all about animals

News-Argus Staff

Sierra Stahl (right) on her mare, Bobby, heads the steer as her partner prepares to heel it.

Photos courtesy of Sierra Stahl




Sierra Stahl is 16 years old and a junior at Judith Gap School. Upon being asked how her school year was starting, she promptly answered, “stressful.” Four, count them, four AP classes along with her regular class schedule -- her academic plate is full for this year.

AP stands for academic placement, meaning college level courses Sierra will take and study for online, in order to get her basic level courses accomplished before she attends college. Sierra is taking AP classes in economics, English, statistics and U.S. history. 

Sierra will be a senior next year and is planning on taking dual credit courses. That means she will get a college credit and a high school credit for the subjects she takes and passes as a senior.

This young lady has some fierce goals and plans for her future. Sierra ultimately wants to apply all this learning to a veterinary science degree. Large animal practice will be her main course of study, as that’s where her passion lies. She also enjoys small animals and would like to do that on the side.

Sierra attended Judith Gap School from kindergarten through grade 4, and then moved to Shepherd for grade 5 through her sophomore year. She lived with her dad all those years, was in 4-H and learned how to team rope. Her father had a custom haying business, and in the process Sierra learned how to operate a swather, rake and baler. The haying business is where she makes her money in the summer time. 

In addition to working, she and her father competed on the professional team roping circuit. The WTRC (Wrangler Team Roping Championship) was the main circuit schedule they followed for their competition. She has competed in Arizona, Montana and Wyoming. A quarter horse mare named Bobby was Sierra’s go-to ride for the roping. Certainly a highlight of her roping career came last summer. when she competed at Big Sky and met Ashton Kutcher and his family. Ashton’s little girl had her picture taken sitting on Bobby. 

At the end of her sophomore year in Shepherd, Sierra moved to Judith Gap to live with her mom. Her mother and stepfather also own a custom haying business, so Sierra is no stranger to hard work. She made enough money this last summer to buy her own pickup, which she calls “the Sonoma.” She told me it is not pretty but it gets her from point A to point B just fine.

Art is one of Sierra’s favorite things to do in her spare time, and she sketches and draws most everything, with horses being her best work. 

Country music is her favorite genre, no surprise here. Garth Brooks and George Strait are her favorite artists

I asked Sierra if she could spend an hour on a bench in a secluded area with someone past, present or future who it would be and why. She thought for a moment and answered, “great-grandpa Donny Ecklund.” He passed away a few years ago from cancer, but she remembers going to Ryegate to his ranch. Sierra attributes her passion for animals, agriculture and her love of the outdoors to him.

All in all, Sierra has some awesome goals and plans in life. She knows hard work is the way to attain those goals, and with her history of just that I suspect she will succeed.


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