The Denver Stock Show is big business on display

NCTA Ag Business club students arrived early at the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo so they would have plenty of time to visit with vendors and businesses prior to the evening performance.

DENVER, Colo. — A rodeo, rural businesses and a chance to dispel some urban myths through agricultural literacy were among highlights for three college students on a study tour in Colorado.

The annual trip to the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo in Denver brought high praise from Aggie students studying at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis.

“The trip was so fun. I think we all had a great time,” said Paige Twohig, Ag Business Club vice president and a sophomore who hails from Wilcox.

“I really enjoyed the rodeo that we went to Sunday evening. We went early and walked around and saw many of the booths and shops in the coliseum, first.”

The NCTA Ag Business Club took three Aggies, all Nebraskans, who joined their professor Mary Rittenhouse for a quick visit to Denver. The girls had campus fundraisers to pay for the excursion.

“I’ve always wanted to go to the stock show but never had the opportunity,” said Sophie Nutter, club secretary also of Wilcox. She is studying agribusiness and livestock management.

“The trip definitely didn’t disappoint as we got to walk around and see so many things, and to tour a Colorado-based business,” Nutter said.

The traditional outing is funded wholly by student efforts, not by the academic department, explains Professor Rittenhouse, who chairs the Ag Business Management division at the rural college.

“The students also determine the focus of the study trip,” she says. “I typically recommend they consider the entrepreneurial spirit of the enterprises we see at the stock show, and the other businesses we visit along the way.”

Twohig said a shuttle bus driver admitted he’d never been close to cattle and assumed the animals are dangerous. For Twohig and Nutter, who both come from agricultural operations and deal with livestock on a regular basis, it was an eye-opener.

“I also kind of got a culture shock when we were there,” Twohig said. “There are probably a lot of people in the crowd at Denver that have never been up close and personal to livestock. That’s something we don’t think about because we’ve grown up around animals.”

In addition to conversing with vendors who were selling wares from saddles and western wear to agricultural equipment or livestock supplies, the Aggie quartet visited Coors Brewery near Fort Collins.

“I like to take students on this tour as it highlights the creative and innovative methods used by Adolph Coors and his heirs in creating today’s global enterprise,” Rittenhouse said.

“They have an appreciation of business terminology such as entrepreneur, innovation and sustainability.”

Business club president Kathryn “Kat” Schick of Curtis said the fast pace of Denver traffic was definitely a change from rural Nebraska.

“This was my first time going to the Denver stock show and it was more than what I expected it to be,” she added. “It’s a lot of fun. There’s a lot of things you see that I didn’t know would be there.”

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