February 9, at Valentine, Neb., Beef took center stage — actually it took Main street, as the 12th annual Heart City Bull Bash was held. Over 30 seedstock producers from as far away as Veteran, Wyo., to the west and Dunlap, Ill., to the east and points in between had bulls in pens in the middle of Main Street. Commercial displays of machinery and livestock equipment were interspersed among the pens.
“The possible blizzard and other unforeseen circumstances kept some breeders and their bulls away,” stated Marsha Bauer, who oversees the committee that plans the one day event. Marsha does not hesitate to note none of the activities of the day could have been done without the great support of all the local sponsors. “This is Valentine’s way of saying ‘Thank You’ to the livestock industry.”
The temperature was typical February, 31, with a wind chill of less than 20, but the snow held off until the bulls and their owners left. “This is a great day, showing Beef at its best! This is our 12th year, but the first ever for a special sale at the Valentine Livestock Auction, which is hosting the Greater Midwest Livestock Auctioneer Contest.” There, some 4,000 head of calves and weigh-up cows were put through the ring to be sold by 31 contestants. Thanks to the Prairie Club Golf, a shuttle service was provided for those wanting to take in both events.
The businesses along Main Street were abuzz with special sales and activities as well. It was indeed an event for the whole family, as the elementary students of Cherry county had their coloring contest display at Sandhills State Bank while at Cedar Canyon banquet room, the 4-H members and parents had their annual 4-H Luck of the Draw, where by purchasing tickets you could ‘shop’ and place a ticket in the buckets for a myriad of items donated by area businesses. The luck came if your name was drawn. “The proceeds go to help the Cherry County 4-H Foundation and programs,” stated 4-H mom and president of the Sandhills Cattle Association, Jodie Dexter.
At the Plains Trading, author C.M. Wendelboe was on hand to autograph his books. “Death along the Spirit Road” and “Death Where the Bad Rock Live” are the first two titles in his “Sprit Road Mysteries.”
At Adamson Studio, one could warm their bodies inside and out by the free soup that was being offered by Chef Eric of the Prairie Club Golf, while logo items and raffle tickets for a free round of golf could be purchased.
The Sandpainters Art Club had their annual art show in the Security First Bank Building. Wine tasting compliments of Prairie Creek Vineyards of Central City, Neb., and Niobrara Valley Vineyards from Nenzel, Neb., were featured at the Wells Fargo Bank from 2 to 4 p.m.
Other events included a craft show, cake raffle and a meat cutting demo by UNL. The Niobrara Council at their office kicked off the Great Backyard Bird Count as well as youth and adult art contests and hands on birding activities. Back for its second year, was a Gun Show at the Second Wind building, which proved to be a popular place to browse and get warm.
Along with the ‘Kings’ of beef on Main street, a quadrant of queens enjoyed mingling, and getting photos with some of the bulls and their owners. Miss Nebraska 2012, Mariah Cook, Miss Chadron 2013, Meghan Thalken, Miss Burwell Rodeo, Shylee Hewitt and Miss Cherry County Rodeo, Olivia Joyce, did not let the cold stop them from enjoying the festivities. Sales continued in various businesses along Main Street until 6. The day’s festivities ended with the annual melodrama held at the Valentine High School at 7 with free will donation going to the Valentine Volunteer Firemen.
By 5 p.m., when it was starting to spit the snow that was predicted to turn into a good ’ole Nebraska blizzard, Main Street was void of any four legged critters. The only clue that they had been there — an occasional pile of a beef by-product which was just ‘a little hay and water until it hit the ground.’ ❖