Department COVID-19 Updates:

Aggie Roundup for April

Aggie Roundup for April

The NCTA Rodeo Team gathers at campus for 2021 Rodeo Week in Nebraska prior to the weekend rodeo at the Lancaster Event Center in Lincoln. (Grote / NCTA News Photo)
The NCTA Rodeo Team gathers at campus for 2021 Rodeo Week in Nebraska prior to the weekend rodeo at the Lancaster Event Center in Lincoln. (Grote / NCTA News Photo)

Dean's Message

By Larry Gossen, Ph.D.

CURTIS, Neb. - Aggie students from the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture are packing in as much studying, lab work, and academic travels as possible before finals late next week and graduation on Thursday, May 6.

A tally of upcoming and recent events demonstrates the many opportunities for Aggies studying agriculture and veterinary technology.

Aggie Rodeo:

It is Rodeo Week in Nebraska. The Aggie team coached by J.R. Dack travels to Lincoln April 23-24 for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Cornhusker Rodeo at the Lancaster Event Center. On Monday, Governor Pete Ricketts was joined by our University of Nebraska President Ted Carter in a horseback ride at the Governor’s Residence after issuing the Rodeo Week in Nebraska proclamation.

UNL and NCTA boast the two rodeo teams in the NU system. Our Curtis team is proud to compete with our UNL counterparts and 12 other colleges in the Great Plains Region of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association. NCTA will have five student athletes competing this weekend at Lincoln.

Last week, at a double rodeo hosted by Black Hills State University in Spearfish, S.D., NCTA Aggies Nathan Burnett and Wyatt Ohlman placed in their events. Burnett, of Shelton, was 4th in the average at the second rodeo, and Ohlman of Gibbon took 6th in team roping (heeler) in the first rodeo, was 2nd in the long go, and ended up 8th in the average. His team roping partner (header) is Caitlyn Comfort of MidPlains Community College in North Platte.

NIRA athletes accumulate points at rodeos last fall and spring of 2021. Burnett is the current regional leader in saddle broncs. Following UNL’s rodeo, he ends his sophomore year at Ames, Iowa. Burnett is a contender at the National College Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyoming June 13-19 and returns to NCTA next fall in agribusiness and livestock management.

Livestock Judging:

Aggie first-year judges competed in the Blue Dragon Classic at Hutchinson, Kansas on Friday. The team was comprised of Audrey Brawner, Cassidy Frey, Olivia Nyberg, Lexi Rice, Clayton Runkle, Meghan Spahr with assistant coach and third-year Aggie student Camden Wilke. They are done for the season although many will return to campus for the NCTA Livestock Judging Camp on May 26.

Aggie Stock Dog Team:

NCTA students hosted a two-day public trial with the Outback Stock Dog Association at the Frontier Country Fairgrounds.  Club Advisor and Vet Technology lecturer Leighlynn Obermiller said it was a great contest in spite of cold and windy conditions. Students compete in a separate category from the Open, Nursey and Intermediate divisions of the trials sanctioned by the National Cattledog Association. 

Aggie Bryce Combs of Wray, Colorado, won the Collegiate Division on Day 1 with his dog, Auzi. “We had fun,” Combs said. “First trial jitters can hopefully be behind us now!”  Indeed, the jitters subsided as the pair also won Day 2.  Overall, 50 dogs ran the trial on Sunday. The next team event is a clinic with professional handler Kent Herbel on May 14-16.

Crops Judging:

The Aggie Crops Team coached by Agronomy Professor Brad Ramsdale ended their season with second place team, and individual honors in the Blue Dragon Classic. Sophomores Connor Nolan of Lynch and Jacob Jenkins of Mitchell placed 2nd and 3rd as individuals. Connor also won first in lab practical and agronomic knowledge. See the story and results at

Ranch Horse Team:

An outstanding opportunity for the Aggie Ranch Horse Team takes contestants and teammates to the National Reined Stock Horse Association Collegiate National Championships. Coach Joanna Hergenreder and 10 student athletes will attend the NRSHA championships in Amarillo, Texas.   

Staff Award:

Josi Arnold, our administrative associate in the NCTA Dean’s Office, was recognized in a virtual program last week with UNL’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources with a prestigious award. We will also honor Josi in a year-end campus awards recognition at NCTA in May. She received IANR Diversity and Inclusivity Staff Award.  I’ll elaborate further in a future message. Congratulations, Josi!

Glenn Jurgens scholarship:  Our community partners include those who support student scholarships through NCTA Financial Aid and the University of Nebraska Foundation. Incoming freshmen and current students will want to consider a great opportunity with the Glenn Jurgens Memorial Scholarship provided by George and Carol Garlick. Applications for a $1,000 scholarship are due Monday. See details at We appreciate the generosity of the Garlicks.

NCTA Events:

April 29:  Curtis Community Clean Up, 5-7 p.m., Meet at Curtis City Park

May 6:  NCTA Graduation, 1:30 p.m., Football field south of Ag Hall

May 10-28:  NCTA Intercession Classes - Accounting I or Animal Breeding

June 14-August 6:  NCTA Summer Session

June 26:  Aggie Alumni Day, 10 a.m. Registration, 11:30 a.m. Luncheon, program

Part of the University of Nebraska system, the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture is a two-year institution with a statewide mission of preparing students for successful careers in agriculture, veterinary technology and related industries. NCTA is known for its affordable tuition, high job-placement rate for its graduates, and for the success of student teams in competitive activities including crops judging, ranch horse events, livestock judging, shotgun sports, stock dog trials, and intercollegiate rodeo. The college is consistently ranked as one of the best two-year schools in the nation.

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