Local News: Stock dog contest to honor mentor who pioneered sport for NCTA, region (12/16/21)

Kelly Popp, at left, and Eddie Merritt, at proper, competed on the National Western Stock Show’s inventory dog contests with six Aggie college students from NCTA in 2020.

XP Photography for NCTA

CURTIS, Neb. – College college students, alumni and the inventory dog neighborhood pays tribute this week to a devoted mentor and pal of the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture.


The Kelly Popp Memorial Stock Dog Trial is Saturday and Sunday on the indoor enviornment of the NCTA Livestock Teaching Center in Curtis, Nebraska.

Popp, age 60, died of pure causes at his house south of Curtis on November 19. He helped set up the NCTA Stock Dog Team in addition to the regional group, the Outback Stock Dog Association.

“This is a particular trial for all of us to honor Kelly and all that he contributed to our college students and the alumni of NCTA,” mentioned Leighlynn Obermiller, veterinary expertise teacher and inventory dog coach-faculty sponsor.

“Kelly did a lot for many people, personally, and in our lives to have an effect on who we’re and the trail we’ve chosen for our careers,” Obermiller mentioned. “It will likely be good for many people to get collectively.”


The contest will likely be hosted by the NCTA Aggies and the Outback Stock Dog Association. It is sanctioned for factors within the National Cattledog Association.

Members of the 2 native teams typically maintain contests or “trials” for handlers of inventory canine resembling border collies and Australian Shepherds. The two breeds are recognized for their agility and intuition in herding cattle and sheep.

Aggie mentors

Judy Bowmaster Cole, veterinary expertise teacher and founding father of the NCTA group (a primary of its sort on the school stage), says Popp was the impetus to begin the group for college students.


“Although 2015 was our official constitution, Kelly had been working with college students lengthy earlier than that point,” she recollects. “Kelly all the time took the time to assist others, particularly youth. He was by no means damaging about college students and canine. He was all the time an advocate for their profit.”

In addition to volunteering at campus, Popp raised inventory canine, typically matching a first-time pupil proprietor to a pup from one in every of his litters.

Kelly and his spouse, Jo, who is employed at NCTA in Aggie Dining Services, opened their farm and residential to dozens of scholars through the years. Conversations went past dog dealing with, typically sprinkled with humor, counsel on life, or mentoring about profession aspirations.

Several occasions every week, college students would carpool or caravan to the Popp farm to work their canine within the enviornment with sheep, goats, dairy calves or beef cattle. They had been there on wet days in some sloppy situations, or on heat summer time nights having fun with camaraderie of associates.

A row of overturned mineral tubs served because the seating space for each spectators and canine. One at a time, a pupil and dog would enter the observe pen. Handlers skilled canine with varied methods from voice instructions, hand gestures, physique motion, sorting flag, or different instructing aids to effectively and safely kind or transfer livestock.

Stock dog neighborhood

They realized with the assistance of clinicians, dog breeders, NCTA lessons in obedience coaching, and infrequently with Popp or coaches volunteering lengthy hours.

“I believe the primary clinic we had was in 2001, after which the Outback crew together with Kelly, began serving to us over time till we had been ready to turn into an official NCTA membership, after which touring, competitors group,” mentioned Bowmaster-Cole in sharing membership historical past.

The Dec. 11-12 dog trial can have three classes: Open, Nursery and Intermediate. A separate collegiate division is not going to be held this time, to allow college students to help in internet hosting the trial. Two alumni of the inventory dog group will function official judges.

Registration and entry charges could be paid on the trial. Spectators are invited to attend for free admission.

A celebration of life service will likely be Friday at 3 p.m. on the Berean Bible Church in Curtis. In case of capability limits, the service will likely be live-streamed to the auditorium of the NCTA Education Center.

Obermiller mentioned proceeds from Saturday’s occasion will go towards a scholarship honoring G. Kelly Popp. An obituary has further data.

— Part of the University of Nebraska system, the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture is a two-year establishment with a statewide mission of making ready college students for profitable careers in agriculture, veterinary expertise and associated industries.

NCTA is thought for its inexpensive tuition, excessive job-placement charge for its graduates, and for the success of pupil groups in aggressive actions together with crops judging, ranch horse occasions, livestock judging, shotgun sports activities, inventory dog trials, and intercollegiate rodeo. The school is constantly ranked as among the finest two-year colleges within the nation.

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