McCook Farm and Ranch Expo celebrates 10 years
December 27, 2017
McCook – Darren Dale of Bird City, Kansas had a vision of promoting agricultural equipment, research and technology to producers at a 'slack' time for farmers and ranchers. "Tom Kiplinger of McCook had provided funding for exhibit buildings on the Red Willow Fairgrounds in McCook, Nebraska, which is less than two hours from where I live. His vision aided my vision, and 2017 marks the tenth anniversary of the McCook Farm and Ranch Expo. Tom passed away a few months ago, but not before he aided the Red Willow Ag Society with another building on the fairgrounds, which allowed us to offer more space to larger equipment vendors." This year 450 vendors from 27 states, Canada and Australia had offerings to help the ag producer in all aspects of their home and their business of helping feed the world. The Expo has always been held the week before Thanksgiving. "Most years, the crops have been harvested, the calves have been weaned, so it is a good time for producers to be thinking and planning for next year."
The first day of the 2017 Expo at McCook was shirt sleeve weather, highly unusual for Nebraska in mid-November. Dale and some of the vendors attributed the lower attendance of the first day due to harvest not yet complete for many.
Dale, with wife Tana, formed Star Enterprises, and now offer a trifecta of farm and ranch expos, which besides the one at McCook, includes the Witchita Falls, Texas Ranch and Farm Expo in March and the Great Bend, Kansas Farm and Ranch Expo in April which is a three-day show, while the others are just two. He readily admits the success of all his Expos are due to his corporate sponsors of Plains Equipment, American Hat Company, Inc. VAP Construction, 105.3 Coyote Country Radio and Fenoglio Boots. Over thirty other sponsors helped host the producer breakfast which kicked off the Expo on Wednesday morning as well as the wine tasting and the beer garden.
Dale wanted his Expos to have something for the whole family, which includes free admission and parking. Producers could find equipment and technology to help on the farm and ranch, and also find home improvements and home décor. Youth enjoyed the puppies for sale at MJ Puppy Paws and the soft wool of the alpacas at River Valley Alpacas.
Most of the vendors have been at the McCook Expo all ten years such as Minnesota Pneumatic Products whose wide array of shop tools could aid producers in their winter projects. Rudy's Tires was new to the Expo, "We have eight locations, seven in Colorado and one in Big Springs, Nebraska. This is not too far out of our service area, and so we wanted to show producers what we could offer to keep them rolling," explained Terry Rutenbeck, sales representative.
Other highlights of the McCook Farm and Ranch Expo included horse training demos both days by JD Wing, McCook FFA was selling raffle tickets on donated toys and a donated fully restored Allis Chambers antique tractor. They also had items they had made such as welded horseshoe coat rack and crosses in their auction. The auction was held during the working ranch horse sale Wednesday evening that concluded the first day's activities.
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Two of the dozen horses up for sale were full siblings, a four-year old gelding and a three-year old filly. Both were bought as weanlings by Stephen and Beth McClure, Aurora, Nebraska. Stephen, was riding the filly while son Seth was riding the gelding. Stephen and Beth have 7M Horse Co., while sons Seth and Shane have the Flying M Bar Horse Co. from Fairfield and Scotia, Nebraska respectively. They have been selling horses at the Expo for the "last seven or eight years," said Beth. Both horses were alert, ears forward, but seemed unafraid with the activity around them, remaining calm and collected throughout, which is a good testimony to the training they received from the father and son duo that rode them.