Retired veterinarian finds way to combine two passions: Animals and kids |

Retired veterinarian finds way to combine two passions: Animals and kids

Dr. Charles Neumann finds two of his favorite things, animals and kids, wrapped up in one event ­­— high school rodeo.

The retired veterinarian volunteers his time and expertise at the Nebraska High School Finals Rodeo in Hastings, Neb. every year, and will do it again this June, when the finals comes to town June 16-18.

He’s there in case an animal gets hurt and needs attention, but while he’s there, he enjoys the student athletes.

The high school finals rodeo is the culminating event for the high school rodeo season, with the top thirty in each of ten events qualifying after about 20 rodeos across Nebraska. If they are one of the top four in their event at the state level, they go on to the National High School Finals rodeo in Gillette, Wyo. in July.

These youth are enjoyable to be around, he said. “They are well-behaved, mannerly, they respect things, and I guess that’s what is really neat,” Neumann said. “They’re a good group of kids that are participating in high school rodeo.”

He and his wife Mary Lou have six grandkids, and “that’s how I want them to behave.”

And the animals are the lucky ones, he said. The horses, bulls, calves and steers don’t work more than fifteen or twenty seconds a day, and usually don’t have to work every day.

“They have a pretty good life. Those kids that participate in high school rodeo, they know how to take care of their animals and treat them right. Some of these animals have better lives than people.”

Neumann grew up a city kid, in Atchison, Kansas, but spent every summer of his youth on his grandparents’ farm. After veterinary school, he practiced veterinary medicine one year in Atchison, four years in Aurora and a year in Scottsbluff before coming to Hastings. He was part-owner of the Animal Clinic before selling his share in the early 1990s. He then worked for a pork farm before he retired in 2001. Now he is involved in the beef industry, feeding cattle and raising calves.

Dr. Neumann loves watching the youth.

“You see the kids’ desire to compete in their event. That’s their passion,” he said. He appreciates how they care about each other. “They encourage each other. They sure do impress me.”

The Nebraska State High School Finals Rodeo will be held in Hastings on June 16-17 at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. and at 1 p.m. on June 18. For more information, go to or, or call (402) 462-3247.❖

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