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Cattle demos offer chute comparisons, entertainment

Photos by Willie Vogt latest cattle chutes at HHD
WORKING CALVES: Companies bring in their latest cattle chutes to show visitors at Husker Harvest Days how they operate when processing calves. There are two times to catch the event each day — 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Dr. Joe is back in the Livestock Industries Building, bringing wit and wisdom to cattle-handling demonstrations.

Cattle demonstrations at Husker Harvest Days offer attendees a chance to see side-by-side comparisons of cattle chutes in action, as well as being entertained along the way.

“Dr. Joe” Jeffrey is back for another year as emcee of the cattle demos, moderating as handlers run cattle through the various chutes that will be put to the test.

Jeffrey, a veterinarian from Lexington, Neb., is ready to entertain and educate during the cattle-handling demos. It promises to be just as informative as in years past with side-by-side chute comparisons, and just as entertaining with his running commentary.

“We tell a few stories and have some fun, too,” Jeffrey says. “It has been a lot of fun.”

Jeffrey says attendees have taught him this: “Teach me a little, but I also want to be entertained.”

Long career brings plenty of stories

Jeffrey says his lengthy veterinary career has provided him plenty of fodder for stories. “I worked for seven veterinarians, and they would send me on the calls that they didn’t want to go on,” he says.

Jeffrey has traveled across the country taking his cattle knowledge and homespun humor to demonstrations similar to what is seen at Husker Harvest Days.

Jeffrey enjoys teasing some of the chute operators, but he is quick to admit that they are the real stars of the show and make the demonstrations successful year after year, as well as the equipment itself.

“It is much more successful than I would have anticipated. The chutes have really improved over the years,” he says. “The greatest changes have been how strong the chutes are built today, and that they are much safer for the livestock and the handlers.”

The voice of the show’s cattle handling demos, Dr. Joe Jeffrey

The voice of the show’s cattle-handling demos, Dr. Joe Jeffrey entertains the audience while also teaching them. But he says the real stars of the demos are the guys handling the cattle and working the chutes.

Since live cattle-handling demonstrations and side-by-side chute comparisons began with the 1988 show, they have become an audience favorite as they look forward to seeing the latest chutes and technology. It also helps that they are entertained by Jeffrey’s banter.

All ranchers know that things don’t always go as planned when working with cattle, and the same holds true at the Husker Harvest Days demonstrations, as calves have been known to sneak through a chute before getting caught in the headgate.

That’s just par for the course, Jeffrey says. Bringing the equipment and cattle together at the show is a good way for producers to compare chute features while seeing them in action.

The demonstrations, located at the Livestock Industry Building at the corner of Eighth Street and West Avenue, take place each day at Husker Harvest Days at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The demos are sponsored this year by Arrowquip and Ramsey Ranch Supply in Bartlett. They are situated in a prime spot amid livestock exhibits, breed association displays, and beef- and livestock-related equipment and machinery.

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