CURTIS, Neb. – Stock dogs and their owners from southwestern Nebraska will provide a public demonstration of cattle handling savvy on Sunday in Kearney.
The Outback Stock Dog Association and Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture Stock Dog Team will be in the livestock arena of the Buffalo County Fairgrounds from 9 a.m. to noon on Feb. 17.
“The Nebraska Cattlemen’s Classic is excited to work with Ed Merritt and Kelly Popp of the Outback group and the students of NCTA-Curtis this Sunday,” said Ronette Bush-Heinrich, NCC coordinator.
“The students did a tremendous job last year on the working dog demonstration,” she said. “The public really enjoyed an aspect of the cattle industry they may not have been familiar with before.”
Safe and efficient cattle handling in a low-stress atmosphere is best for the cattle and all involved, explains Popp, an agricultural producer from rural Curtis and Outback association president.
He volunteers to assist students and Judy Bowmaster-Cole, an NCTA assistant professor of veterinary technology and the NCTA Stock Dog Team Coach.
When not working their dogs at campus, the students often take their dogs out to Popp’s place for practice with cattle in his corrals and facilities.
Popp, Merritt and contestants from several states joined the NCTA Stock Dog team Feb. 9-10 in a stock dog trial at the NCTA indoor arena in Curtis. The Outback members co-hosted the trial with NCTA club members and other volunteers.
“We had about 50 dogs participating over the two days in the various divisions,” Popp said. “The students are very impressive, and are doing really well.”
Several first-year students with new dogs competed in the special collegiate division, along with some more experienced dogs and the second-year Aggies in the Intermediate category.
A qualifying trial through the National Cattledog Association can earn points for stock dogs to qualify next summer for the national finals. Collegiate Division contestants are not vying for points.
Kendra Marxsen of Schuyler, president of the Aggie Stock Dog Team, earned points with her dog, Tank, by competing in the Intermediate Division.
“I am very thankful for the opportunities that the NCTA Stock Dog Team has given me,” Marxsen said. “I had no previous experience in the stock dog world until I came to college.”
Details about the NCC schedule is at: https://cattlemens.org/classic/schedule.html