Veterinary students get up close and personal with bulls, alpacas and livestock at the National Western Stock Show

Dr. Tim Holt. (All photos by John Eisele, Colorado State University photographer.)

Colorado State University has been part of the National Western Stock Show—in one way or another—since the first Stock Show in 1906.

Dr. Tim Holt, a large animal veterinarian and professor at Colorado State University, has been part of the National Western Stock Show for a long time, too. He’s visited the Stock Show since he was six years old, when his dad used to take him to the grounds in Denver, Colo.

Today, he continues to share his passion for all things Stock Show by taking veterinary students to the complex every year. “I always wanted to become part of it,” said Dr. Holt. “When I graduated veterinary school in 1988, I started bringing 4-H and FFA students. Once I came to CSU, I started taking my veterinary students.”

The students tour the Stock Show grounds, collect urine samples for drug tests and serve as backups to veterinarians if an emergency occurs. “It helps the students get a grasp of what the cattle industry means to people. It’s a way of life, family survivability,” said Dr. Holt.

Fourth-year veterinary student Carol Ann Lipinski touring the National Western Stock Show.

The students also visit patients who were treated at the James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital at CSU in the past. “Anybody who has brought an animal to CSU, we always make a point to go visit them and their animals. It’s always a good gesture on behalf of CSU. It’s our public duty, and they so appreciate it,” said Dr. Holt.

This year, five veterinary students accompanied Dr. Holt at the Stock Show, including fourth-year students Rose Digianantonio, Emm Furst and Carol Ann Lipinski; second-year student Kristina Glapa; and first-year student Natalie Wong.

For some students, the experience changes their professional plans. “Small-animal students actually change their degree to large animal after the Stock Show,” said Dr. Holt. “One student has become a big name in cattle industry in Texas. Another student is working on rodeo bulls in Texas.”

“I’m spoiled rotten; I get to hang out with these youths every day,” expressed the professor, who was awarded the Zoetis Distinguished Teacher Award by students in 2015. “If that’s hard work, then I’ve got it made.”