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Wyoming Collegiate Cattle Association brings cattle handling professional to UW

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Laramie – The Wyoming Collegiate Cattle Association (WCCA) at the University of Wyoming welcomed Curt Pate to Laramie, where he put on a low stress cattle handling clinic. The clinic was held on Feb. 27 at the Hansen Arena.

The event was free to UW students and the public because of the support of WCCA, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, University of Wyoming Department of Animal Science and University of Wyoming Extension.

“WCCA is really trying to boost up numbers of the club and trying to get members to become more active in the cattle industry,” said Kasey Miles, WCCA vice president, after the clinic.

Efficient cattle handling

Curt Pate is a man who shows passion and a deep understanding for livestock. Pate’s passion for livestock is shown in his chosen career of teaching clinics on stockmanship and horsemanship. He focuses primarily on stockmanship, where he is able to demonstrate different strategies for gathering, grazing, sorting and moving livestock on foot or horseback.

Pate refers to his technique as efficient cattle handling instead of low stress cattle handling because he can see the success that comes from the handling techniques

“The clinic had things for everyone from beginners to experienced livestock handlers,” Miles said. “There were definitely different perspectives to think about.”

Learning from horses

The unique thing about Pate is he is a true horseman, Miles added, noting that Pate also appreciates and believes in an efficient handling environment because of the positive results he has seen by working with young and aged horses.

Miles explained that he appreciated how Pate started off talking about horses and working with them first on foot and then in the saddle.

“Curt told us sometimes it is easier to understand an animal that trusts in the person standing next to them, unlike most cattle,” he said. “Curt was able to find different strategies to work cattle by being able to work with and understand horses.”

Pate emphasized strategies such as pressure points, flight zones and even reactions to human activity.

“He took what he learned from handling horses and applied it to cattle,” stated Miles.

Coming to learn

“Over 100 people showed up to listen and learn from Curt,” said Molly Diefenbach, WCCA president. “The positive feedback I have heard from people is great.”

The crowd consisted of students and local ranchers. Ranchers who have been working with livestock their whole lives were ready to learn new ways of bettering their corporations. Diefenbach added that everyone was interested in the traditional and newer handling methods Pate had to offer. 

“Whether they had worked with cattle their whole life or never knew anything, everyone left having learned something,” explains Diefenbach, “and that is a huge reason we invited Curt to come down.”

Building from his grandfather

Both Diefenbach and Miles expressed that Pate was very cautious in reminding people he still believes in using the ways he grew up learning from his grandfather, noting that his grandfather’s methods are the reason he is able to put on these types of clinics.

Pate added that he does not want to change people’s technique for handling their livestock, he only wants to help build on to them. He never told the audience that their way was the wrong way, Diefenbach said, adding that Pate only gave more ideas to try along with their own.

Miles commented, “It is the little things that can build such a great foundation in building up a successful low stress handling environment for livestock.”

“Curt built his handling program off of what his grandfather taught him and believes we still need to know the things that were learned in the beginning,” said Diefenbach.

Flight versus pressure

Miles explained the different types of strategies that Pate offered and said they were simple to understand.

“When talking about flight zones, Pate brought a different type of aspect to the clinic that people seemed to really take an interest in,” Miles said. “He phrased it as ‘pressure zones.’ When pushing livestock up an alley, instead of getting too close to them, he used pressure to push the animal up the alley.”

“What was really cool about Curt was he didn’t try to teach anything new,” Miles said. “He just tried to help us build on what we already knew.”

“Curt is a super nice and helpful guy. He was willing to talk to us about anything, and he gave good advice,” commented Miles. “He really understands cattle and takes his time to see what he needs to change to be a better cattleman.”

Miles added that Pate gave people the opportunity to learn successful methods in working livestock, and he brought those new aspects to the Albany County community. His clinic was very helpful and encouraging for those who were able to attend, he continued. 

“It is encouraging for the beef industry to see local ranchers going out and finding new methods to build up and better their corporations,” he said.

Opening doors

Putting the Curt Pate clinic on opened a lot of doors for the WCCA, and they would love to continue to provide events that allow people to become more familiar with the beef industry, said both members of WCCA’s leadership team.

The organization believes that putting on more clinics can help them in their goal of promoting the beef industry.

“These types of clinics are something we really need to push so people who are not in the beef industry can understand what beef industry is really doing,” said Diefenbach.

Sarah Herold is an intern for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and is currently studying at the University of Wyoming. Send comments on this article to

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