The February weather was perfect for the 22nd annual Buffalo Bill Farm and Ranch Expo (BBF&R) held at the D&N Event Center in North Platte, Neb., on the 6th and 7th.
The event is sponsored by the Agri-business committee of the North Platte Chamber of Commerce and Development Corporation. The myriad of products from the 130 vendors included heaters to hay equipment; window treatments to welding supplies, tractors to ATVs, livestock chutes to the lending institutions that would help the producer finance any of the products on display; all designed to make life easier on the land or in the house.
The committee had a waiting list of over 70 exhibitors, with 90 percent of the displays by repeat vendors. “I think the Ag economy is so strong that the businesses that derive most of their income from the Ag sector are trying to get out there and get as much exposure as they can. I think that will stay stable through the Obama administration," said Duane McClain, chairman of the Chamber's Agri-Business Committee.
A multiyear vendor was Kelly’s Sales and Service of Elm Creek, Neb. Kelly Florell has been a dealer of the Hydra Line products by Triple C. Inc, which began in 1983 at Sabetha, Kan., for “too many years to count.” Kelly brought to the show two pick-ups that between them were highlighting six of the products manufactured by Triple C. Both pick-ups had the flatbed of course for hauling hay, but on one of the arms on one of the flatbeds was a wire winder, “great for unwinding barbed wire for fence building,” the other arm had an hydraulic post hole auger while on the front of that flatbed was a tool chest and a cake feeder. The other pick-up had a dump box, which was like a huge rectangle wheel barrow on a flatbed. All would definitely make life easier and more efficient for the farmer or rancher.
Not far from Kelly, the Mid-Plains Community College, construction class had a booth selling raffle tickets for chances to win several of their year’s projects, including two rocking chair horses, wooden patio furniture, a steamer chest or a canoe bookshelf. Trent Porath of Mullen, Neb., hopes to use the skills he is learning to go back to Mullen and assist in the family construction business began by his grandfather. “I grew up helping him when I could, now I go back on week-ends.” Walter Zaarkowski, from Benkleman, Neb., has also worked alongside a local contractor. “I want to go back home also and work.” Tickets will be on sale until March 20th.
One of the new booths was the UPS (United Parcel Service). Owner, Kathy Bourque, and her assistant, Allison Sheffield knew how to draw visitors, especially the young ones as they had a ‘Wheel of Fortune’ wheel. Asked what drew her to pay the expense and take the time to attend the Buffalo Bill Farm and Ranch Expo, Kathy explained, “We have had several customers we have done business with, stop by. There are a lot of them out there, hopefully new ones as well, so we wanted to show our support for the Ag industry.” Farmers and ranchers need office supplies, some need wedding invitations, or banners for parties, unique greeting cards, a various array of colored paper for flyers — all that and so much more is at the UPS store, that is why she came. “It has been a great show for us.”
Terry Correll of Tryon was one of the representatives at the First National Bank booth not too far from the entrance. He has been a lending specialist with the bank for a little over a year. While explaining the benefits of banking with First National, he was also promoting the 2013 Cattlemen’s Ball of Nebraska. This major fundraiser for finding a cure for the fight against cancer will be held June 7-8, at the Hanging H Ranch located on Highway 30 between Paxton and Sutherland, “just up the road a little ways west of here.” Hosts for the 17th annual Cattlemen’s Ball are Ralph and Beverly Holzfaster of Paxton, Neb., and the site’s owner Neal Hansen and family of Sutherland, Neb. First National Bank is a major sponsor of this year’s event where all the money raised stays in Nebraska fighting cancer at the Eppley Cancer Center at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.
The Buffalo Bill Farm and Ranch Expo is set by the committee for a time prior to the thick of calving season for the ranchers and planting season for the farmers. Hats or caps off to the North Platte Chamber of Commerce and Development Corporation for another successful Expo. ❖