Urbigkit, Cat 1965-

views updated

Urbigkit, Cat 1965-


Surname is pronounced "er-big-kite"; born August 12, 1965, in Madison, IN; daughter of Lawrence and Helen Faul; married Jim Urbigkit, 1985; children: Cass. Ethnicity: "White." Politics: Republican. Religion: Christian.


Home and office—Pinedale, WY. E-mail—[email protected]


Journalist, photographer, and rancher. Sublette Examiner, Pinedale, WY, cofounder, 2001, and feature reporter until 2006. Correspondent for Wyoming Livestock Roundup, 2000—, Casper Star-Tribune, 2001—, Planet Jackson Hole, beginning 2006, Freemont County Voices, beginning 2006, and Wyoming Business Report, beginning 2006. Photographer, with work represented in exhibitions and Associated Press reports. Sublette County Predator Board, member, 1998—; Sublette County Farm Bureau, member, 2003-06, vice president, 2004-06; University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service, member of Mountain West Advisory Committee for Sustainable Management of Rangeland Reserves, 2004—. Exhibitions: Photographs included in Governor's Capitol Art Exhibit, Cheyenne, WY, 2005, 2007, and Dog Show Exhibit, Wichita, KS, 2006.


Western Writers of America, Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, Sublette County Wool Growers.

Awards, Honors

Wyoming Press Association Awards include first place, best coverage of agricultural news, small circulation, 1998, first place, in-depth reporting, 2002, for "Food Storage Order," 2003, for "Public Trust Doctrine," and 2004, for "Brucellosis in Sublette County," and first place, portrait photo category, 2004, for "Girl with Lamb"; named outstanding news reporter, Wyoming Association of Conservation Districts, 2003; Portavoz Award for Media, Wyoming Wool Growers Association, 2004; Shepherd's Voice Award for Print Media, American Sheep Industry Association, and grand champion from photo contest, open category, both 2005, both for "Nose to Nose"; Wyoming Center for the Book selection for National Book Festival, 2005, and citation for notable children's book, International Reading Association, and Wyoming selection for "Ag Books for Kids," both 2006, all for Brave Dogs, Gentle Dogs; Wyoming Business Council Agribusiness photo contest awards, 2007; other photography awards.



Brave Dogs, Gentle Dogs: How They Guard Sheep, Boyds Mills Press (Honesdale, PA), 2005.

A Young Shepherd, Boyds Mills Press (Honesdale, PA), 2006.

Puppies, Puppies Everywhere!, Boyds Mills Press (Honesdale, PA), 2006.

Cattle Kids: A Year on the Western Range, Boyds Mills Press (Honesdale, PA), 2007.

The Shepherd's Trail, Boyds Mills Press (Honesdale, PA), 2008.


Yellowstone Wolves: A Chronicle of the Animal, the People, the Politics, foreword by Ronald M. Nowak, McDonald & Woodward Publishing (Blacksburg, VA), 2007.

Contributor of photographs to periodicals, including Agri-News, Farm Times, Range, Sublette Examiner, High Five, and Shepherd and Planning. Photographs included in Livestock Guardians: Using Dogs, Donkeys, and Llamas to Protect Your Herd, by Janet Vorwald Dohner, Storey Publishing, 2008.


Cat Urbigkit is a journalist and photographer whose work reflects her lifelong love of the Western prairie where she makes her home. She shares the culture of this area with young readers in photo-essays, published in books such as Brave Dogs, Gentle Dogs: How Dogs Guard Sheep, A Young Shepherd, and Cattle Kids: A Year on the Western Range. The Shepherd's Trail, a photo-essay depicting how sheep are raised, herded, and sheared on the ranches of the Rocky Mountain states, was praised by Carolyn Phelan, who wrote in her Booklist review that Urbigkit's "attractive photos provide windows into a part of the world that most children never see."

In Brave Dogs, Gentle Dogs Urbigkit recounts the history of guardian dogs, and how they have helped shepherds throughout the world for centuries. Through pho-

tos that Horn Book contributor Martha Walke described as "clear, focused, and appealing," the author shows how young pups are introduced to lambs and sheep, socialized with the flock, and taught to bond and protect their herd. In an appendix, Urbigkit includes information on the six most-prominent breeds of guardian dogs among Rocky Mountain sheep ranches, some of which have become scarce over the years. Praising the book's "relaxed narrative" and "heart-tugging" photographs, Booklist critic Jennifer Mattson predicted that readers of Brave Dogs, Gentle Dogs "will come away impressed" by the loyalty of these dogs to their shepherds and their flocks.

Children who grow up on ranches where horses and guardian dogs are common are the focus of A Young Shepherd and Cattle Kids. In A Young Shepherd she focuses on Cass, her twelve-year-old son, who starts his own flock of sheep, nurturing and raising orphaned lambs on his parents' Wyoming ranch. "Urbigkit's clear text is enhanced with sharp, focused color photographs of Cass working with his lambs," wrote Walke of A Young Shepherd. Praising the book for demonstrating a young person's dedication, Mattson concluded that Urbigkit's "close-up look at a fascinating, animal-focused activity will appeal even to readers who rarely rub shoulders with livestock."

With its emphasis on photographs over text, Cattle Kids depicts a number of boys and girls performing the many tasks that take place on a working cattle ranch, including helping cowhands birth calves, run farm machines, and herd and brand cattle. A Kirkus Reviews cited Cattle Kids for providing "a general picture of the annual rhythms of cattle raising."

Urbigkit once noted: "I have been involved in journalism since 1996. In 2001 I expanded my activities to include photography, focusing my efforts on documenting western Wyoming's migratory sheep industry and the animals involved in this primitive method of agriculture. My photographs capture sheep, guardian dogs, and horses, as well as Nepalese and Mexican herders, Basque ranch owners, quiet camps, and vast landscapes. Other topics in my portfolio include western cattle ranching, the natural gas industry, high desert cushion plants, domestic animals (including puppies), Rocky Mountain wildlife, and Indian relay racing."

Biographical and Critical Sources


Booklist, March 1, 2005, Jennifer Mattson, review of Brave Dogs, Gentle Dogs: How They Guard Sheep, p. 1201; February 15, 2006, Jennifer Mattson, review of A Young Shepherd, p. 100; January 1, 2008, Carolyn Phelan, review of The Shepherd's Trail, p. 70.

Horn Book, May-June, 2006, Martha Walke, review of A Young Shepherd, p. 350.

Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2005, review of Brave Dogs, Gentle Dogs, p. 427; August 1, 2007, review of Cattle Kids: A Year on the Western Range.

Roundup, February, 2008, Laurie Wood, review of Cattle Kids, p. 29; June, 2008, Laurie Wood, review of The Shepherd's Trail, p. 37.

School Library Journal, March, 2005, Patricia Manning, review of Brave Dogs, Gentle Dogs, p. 205; May, 2006, Eldon Younce, review of A Young Shepherd, p. 118; October, 2006, Cathie Bashaw Morton, review of Puppies, Puppies Everywhere!, p. 186; September, 2007, Madeline J. Bryant, review of Cattle Kids, p. 188; March, 2008, Carolyn Janssen, review of The Shepherd's Trail, p. 192.


Cat Urbigkit Home Page,http://www.paradisesheep.com (March 3, 2007).