HERDER HIGHLIGHT: Bailey Mueller finds success in culinary arts, photography, ag

Devonie Mueller courtesy photo

Mueller holds her photography project which won her a grand champion title at this year’s Wyoming State Fair. She has never taken any photography courses,  saying it is just a simple hobby.

By Brooke Young, brooke@glenrockind.com



With the scent of freshly waxed floors and newly purchased dry-erase markers wafting through the air, young pupils are still feeling jittery from the fortuity of a clean slate the beginning of the school year brings. The morning of Aug. 29 beckoned the start of just the second week of high school, and, freshmen in particular may be feeling a bit overwhelmed by the mind-boggling amount of extracurricular activities offered as sign-up sheets begin to circulate.


But, ninth grader Bailey Mueller fancies the challenges that come with a jam-packed full schedule. With a joyous grin, Mueller plopped down in a Herder purple classroom chair and slid her backpack onto the floor as she declared how much she has enjoyed being a freshman thus far.


“It’s honestly really fun. I am in B.I.O.N.I.C., student council and the culinary group. I do a lot with just generally helping out the teachers, too. For sports, I do golf, track and I manage the wrestling team. I also do FFA and 4-H, and archery through that,” she said.


With a pinch of enthusiasm mixed with a hint of intensity in her voice, it is noticeable that Mueller’s extroverted personality comes naturally, which is no surprise given her willingness to try new things. 


Her involvement in various activities has certainly awarded her success in recent weeks. Just two days before her high school career kicked off, she was awarded her third consecutive first place title at the Kids-Q competition at the Wyoming State Barbecue Championship and Bluegrass Festival in Worland where she faced off against 15 other contestants.


Mueller’s parents, Devonie and Brad Mueller, operate American Heroes Barbecue, competing in contests at statewide and national levels. And 14-years-old Mueller is following in their footsteps – considering her love for food. 


She conquered the challenge set in front of her at the Kids-Q, quickly whipping up a hamburger stuffed with pepperjack cheese and barbecue sauce which undoubtedly earned her the first-place spot. Her plating skills, which she learned while in the culinary program in junior high, also peeked through as she meticulously placed barbecue sauce around her creation for the judges.


Following her win, Mueller was invited to compete in the American Royal World Series of Barbecue in Kansas City, the largest barbecue contest in the world, where she will compete alongside her parents, but in the kids division. She will face off against 75 other youth culinarians. 


She said she is only “kind of” experiencing feelings of nervousness as the national competition approaches.


“I am really happy about it. It doesn’t scare me as much as it did now that I have gone to a national competition,” she explained. 


Through the culinary arts program Glenrock Jr./Sr. High School offers, Mueller visited Disney World’s Epcot last year where she competed in the Cook Around the World competition. 


“It is a really fun story,” she said with a chuckle. “I got back from eighth grade honor band, and Chef (teacher Patrick Hopper) called me down and he told me, ‘Okay, something happened and you are now on the team competing for Disney.’ And so I really didn’t know what to think! Like, ‘Oh my gosh. What do I do now?’” 


Mueller quickly learned that she had little to worry about as her team won celebrity Chef Amanda Freitag’s judges choice award with their Madombi, an African dumpling dish.


Although she is indeed looking forward to another year as a member of the culinary program where she will travel to Disney World’s Epcot yet again, Mueller is still on Cloud 9 from her success at the Wyoming State Fair.


At this year’s fair, she landed a grand champion title for her photography featuring black and white horses. She also showcased her talent in archery at the state level after placing at the county level. 


“I competed at the state level this year, last year and the two years before that. This year I didn’t do too bad,” she said humbly. “I placed second for the intermediate age division.” 


Despite the fact that Mueller finds great joy in exhibiting her talent with food, photography and archery, which she refers to as “very fun stuff”, her goals towards her future push her to also excel in swine shows, with hopes of raising money for her first car and college.  


“Most of the money (from fair) gets saved to go towards my project next year. But all of that money that gets profited goes towards buying a vehicle and going to college,” she noted. “I am hoping, however, to show a steer this coming year to kind of expand my goals.” 


Mueller is a member of the Rockin’ Wranglers 4-H club that her mother leads. 


Being a member of the culinary group, cooking in barbecue competitions outside of school organizations, submitting photography projects, competing in FFA and archery, showing swine and maintaining excellence through sports certainly sounds like a hefty load, but Mueller said she wouldn’t have it any other way. 


“I wouldn’t call it stressful, but I would say you kind of get tired out. But, you take a little rest and you just keep going. I love having something to do, it keeps me out of trouble,” she said cheerfully.


Glenrock Independent

Physical Address:506 W. Birch, Glenrock, WY 82637 Mailing Address: PO Box 109, Douglas, WY 82633 Phone: (307) 436-2211

The Glenrock Independent is located in the Bronco Building

Office hours: Monday, Wednesday, Friday - 10:00 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday - 9:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Subscriber Login