Aggies spring into April

Aggies spring into April

Past president of the NCTA Stock Dog Team Jolene Chmelik of Idaho and her dog, Gillie during 2017. The club hosts a public trial at campus on April 7th-8th. (Courtesy photo)
Past president of the NCTA Stock Dog Team Jolene Chmelik of Idaho and her dog, Gillie during 2017. The club hosts a public trial at campus on April 7th-8th. (Courtesy photo)

March 27, 2018

NCTA Dean’s Column by Ron Rosati, Ph.D.

Students returned to the NCTA campus on Monday after a wonderful spring break and are now in the home stretch before graduation on May 3.

Fortunately, on this agricultural campus students can enjoy the beautiful spring weather as they engage in experiential learning opportunities in our outdoor classrooms and field laboratories.

Students are also heavily involved the next few weeks in hands-on activities indoors at the soils and computer labs, for example. Our irrigation technology students are working hard developing practical skills required in welding and electricity.

The veterinary technology complex and clinic is quite busy with the students perfecting more than 150 skills they need to master before graduation. Their classes include radiology, surgery, large animal health, physiology and anatomy, clinical pathology and dental care.

The NCTA Stock Dog and Ranch Horse Teams are holding competitions in early April here in southwestern Nebraska.

Stock Dog Trials April 7-8

About a dozen Aggie students and their instructor, Judy Bowmaster-Cole, are dedicating “after hours” time preparing for a public cattle dog trial on campus.

Their season finale will be April 7 and 8 at the NCTA Livestock Teaching Center, a wonderful campus facility of classrooms, heated indoor arena and plenty of parking to host competitors and spectators at this popular event.

In partnership with the regional Outback Stock Dog Association, Aggie students and other volunteers coordinate a working stock dog contest which draws competitors from several states. The trial is part of the National Cattledog Association series where competitors vie for points and rankings to qualify for a national contest this summer.

The campus trial includes a non-NCA collegiate division for Aggie students and recent graduates.

If you’ve not witnessed one of these cattle dog trials, this is a wonderful opportunity to view how handlers train and work with their dogs to safely and efficiently sort and move livestock in low-stress handling.

Admission is free beginning at 9 a.m. each day.  The clubs are recognizing two NCTA alumni from Kansas who have sponsored a dog kennel for campus. It was constructed locally and provides temporary housing for stock dogs owned by students or campus visitors. Plan to stop by and take in the April 7-8 dog trials.

Ranch Horse Show April 13-15

Aggie students in the equine program are preparing for more than 100 riders and their horses on April 13-15 at the Kiplinger Arena in McCook.

The “Punchy in Pink” Spring Roundup hosted by the NCTA Ranch Horse Team will feature a cutting horse contest on Friday, and ranch and stock horse events Saturday and Sunday for reining, trail, working cow, pleasure, and ranch horse conformation.

This unique show will draw more competitors than the previous three years, said Joanna Hergenreder, NCTA equine professor and Ranch Horse Team coach.

And, for a first time, the college team is affiliating with regional and national groups of the American Quarter Horse Association, Slidin’Daze, Rocky Mountain Quarter Horse Association, and World Cutting Horse Association. Some contestants will be competing for points which will qualify them for the 2019 AQHA Versatility Ranch Horse World Championships in Oklahoma.

This is a spectacular leadership and skills opportunity for our Aggie students studying equine management. Join the Aggies for an exciting weekend at the Red Willow County Fairgrounds. Admission is free for spectators, with a fundraising event featured on Saturday evening for cancer awareness.

The McCook fairgrounds facilities are outstanding with indoor and outdoor arenas, stables and stalls for the horses, and plenty of parking for the exhibitor’s vehicles and horse trailers, and the public.

Congratulations to all of our NCTA students in their academic and enrichment endeavors. Go Aggies!

NCTA Events:


29 – Educational Service Unit field trip to NCTA

30 – Frontier County 4-H Horse Practice, 6 p.m., LTC Arena


2 – Intramural Softball, 6:30 p.m., Mill Park

3 – ACT Testing for Medicine Valley High, NCTA Ed Center

6-7 – Aggie Rodeo Team competes at SDSU, Brookings

7 – Mobile Food Pantry, 9-11 a.m., NCTA Student Union

7-8 –NCTA Stock Dog Trials, 8 a.m-6 p.m., LTC Arena

NCTA Mission:    The Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture is devoted to a statewide mission of preparing students for successful careers in agriculture, veterinary technology, food and related industries. The college provides open access to innovative technical education resulting in associate degrees, certificates, diplomas and other credentials.

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