Neb. judging students gain experience at Denver; Curtis man places in top 20 |

Neb. judging students gain experience at Denver; Curtis man places in top 20

NCTA Freshmen Livestock Judging Students and Coach Doug Smith, left, helped Ridder Herefords of Callaway prepare and lead bulls for the Carload Pen contest at the National Western Stock Show in Denver. Coach Doug Smith is joined by students, left to right, Emily Whipple, Cambridge; Morgan Fangmeier, Hebron; Caroline Naiman, Cloverdale, California; and Evey Choat, St. Edward. Photo by Mary Ridder

NCTA Judging Students gain experience at Denver; Curtis man in top 20

Curtis, NE – Two NCTA livestock judging teams gained new experiences recently as they competed at the National Western Stock Show in Denver. Sophomore Blake Hodson of Curtis garnered 20th place overall in the cattle carload contest, and was in the top 20 of the NWSS Collegiate Livestock Judging Contest.

Hodson’s teammates included Kara Reimers of Boelus, Bart Miller of Valentine, and Tana Almand of Vinita, Okla. Team members practiced their judging skills in early January by traveling to several farms and ranches in Nebraska, evaluating livestock and preparing for the national contest, said Dr. Douglas Smith, assistant professor and team coach at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture.

The NCTA freshman team of Emily Whipple of Cambridge, Evey Choat of St. Edward, Morgan Fangmeier of Hebron, and Caroline Naiman of Cloverdale, California, also competed in Denver, and gained some extra “hands-on” fitting and grooming experience by helping the Ridder Hereford Ranch of Callaway exhibit their carload pen of bulls. The pen of bulls won their class.

“Carload” terminology is still maintained today at livestock shows around the country, based on the historical aspect of livestock being shipped to market in railroad cars.

“NCTA was the only college to help out with showing carload bulls,” Coach Smith said. “Mary Ridder had called and asked if some of our students could help them lead bulls into the ring, and we were happy to help.”

Practical experiences such as helping prep and lead bulls enhanced the overall marketing and live evaluation skills gained by students, Smith said. Prospective NCTA students can earn scholarships for competition activities such as livestock judging, rodeo, ranch horse, and equestrian team.

For details on scholarship criteria or becoming a member of the NCTA Aggies livestock judging team, contact Dr. Smith at (308) 367-5286 or Or, see

–Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture

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