2012 Kansas Barbed Wire Show | TheFencePost.com

2012 Kansas Barbed Wire Show

Story by Ella Marie Hayes
Saratoga, Wyo.
Photos Linda Kenyon
Rush County News

Men's World Champion Barbed Wire Splicing Contest winner Perry Russell shows how they splice wire in Chautauqua County, where he is the sheriff.

The 46th Annual Antique and Barbed Wire Swap and Sell is scheduled for May 3-5 in La Crosse, Kan., “Barbed Wire Capital of the World.” Exhibitors can reserve tables to display, buy, sell or trade their own wire, wire tools and other antiques at the La Crosse City Auditorium at 5th and Main during the annual event sponsored by the Kansas Barbed Wire Collectors Association (KBWCA).

The Theme: “Back to the Old West” is a fitting choice for this 2012 event. It is doubtful that any other development in the history of the Old West has played a greater role in taming the Wild West than the invention of barbed wire. It has separated neighbor from neighbor, marked boundaries, divided nations, and caused the loss of lives but at this gathering barbed wire is bringing people together in La Crosse, Kan.

Events kick off on Thursday, May 3, with the opening of the Kansas Museum Complex from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Grass Park. The Complex includes the Kansas Barbed Wire Museum, Rush County Historical Museum, Post Rock Museum and the Nekoma Bank Museum. The Complex will be open again on Friday and Saturday during the same hours.

On Friday, May 4, the La Crosse City Auditorium will open at 7:00 a.m. for set-up, and at 8:00 a.m. the doors will open to the public to view the exhibits all day, including barbed wire collections and other collectibles. The Special Continuing Exhibition: “Tribute to our Veterans” featuring military uniforms and equipment from WW I, WW II, Korea, Viet Nam, Persian Gulf and Iraq will also be displayed Friday and Saturday.

Lunch Concessions will be available from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Displays will be judged at 2:00 p.m. Exhibits will close at 5:00 p.m.

The World Champion Splicing Contest with Men’s, Women’s, and a Youth Division will begin at 5:00 p.m. The Contest features a splicing machine rigged with two posts allowing contestants to put their fence mending skills to the test. Judging is based on speed and the measured sag. The completed splice must support a 40-pound weight for adults. (No weight is used in the youth category). Prizes are awarded. The public is invited.

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Saturday, May 5, displays at the City Auditorium will open to the public from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. For added excitement, visitors should check at the registration table for instructions for the Barbed Wire Geocaching Event that will begin at 10:00 a.m. Community Garage Sales will also be going on around town. Lunch Concessions will again be available from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

At 2:00 p.m., the Public Auction of barbed wire, tools, and collectibles will be held. The auction fees benefit the Barbed Wire Museum. Exhibits will close at 3:00 p.m. and display tear down will begin.

A Western Banquet will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the City Auditorium with advance reservations required. The Barbed Wire Awards Ceremony will follow the banquet. Guests are encouraged to dress as their favorite cowboy or cowgirl in keeping with the “Back to the Old West” theme.

For readers who can’t attend the 2012 Swap and Sell, but would like to visit the museums at another time, La Crosse is just a short distance off I-70, about 25 miles south of Hays, Kan., on US 183. The Museum Complex opens May 1 for the summer season. Hours are: 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Mon-Sat.; 1-4:30 p.m. Sunday. No admission charge – donations appreciated.