2020 Sandhills Cattle Association Annual Convention a success | TheFencePost.com

2020 Sandhills Cattle Association Annual Convention a success

THEDFORD, Neb. — The Sandhills Cattle Association kicked off its two-day Annual Convention on Sept. 20 with the Fall Feeder Calf Preview, held in conjunction with the Nebraska Cow-Calf Council. This year’s ranch tour program was cut a little short from standard tours to accommodate all the activities they had in store. The first stop was Craig and Joy Miles, Miles Family Ranch, located north of Thedford. Roughly 38 folks showed up to listen as Craig and his son Caleb explained their operation to participants. Their ranch raises Angus cattle and typically sells steer calves in November and December and markets their terminal heifers in January and February. A live demonstration of cattle handling was held at the next stop at the Bestol-Masek Ranch. Brenda Masek, vice-president of the Nebraska Cattlemen, her family, and crew showed participants how their commercial calves were worked every year at weaning. They implement fence line weaning with great success. The final stop was held at the Byron and Tyson Cox Ranch near Purdum. The Cox Family raised Angus sired calves, which they wean in October and send to backgrounders until the first part of the next year. The steers are then marketed at Valentine Livestock, and the heifers are sold as replacements.

Next, they hurried on back to Thedford for the 23rd Annual Golf Classic held at the Thedford Golf Course. Fifty-one participants or 17 teams teed up this year. A shotgun started the fun as the teams competed for the best of nine holes. Our first-place team was Williams and Martin, which was comprised of Kevin, Nick and Jennifer Martin. They received a $200 check. Second place was awarded to the Masterhand Milling team: Dusty Turner, Thad Kadel and Justin Packard. They received zero-gravity chairs as their prize. And finally, third place was awarded to Tim Downing, Brett Downing and Travis Hanson. They received three golf coolers. This year had a fun twist as we offered a $10,000 hole in one contest for Hole 3 on the course, thanks to Arganbright Law Office of Valentine. Unfortunately, no one cashed in, but it sure added a fun element to the tournament.


Thank you to our Golf Hole Sponsors: Sandhills Sweets of Burwell, TK Angus, Call’s Garage, Larsen V.E.T., Roadside Inn, Arganbright Law, Sandhill Oil Company, Bassett Livestock, Vitaferm, Sandhills State Bank, Valentine Livestock, Security First Bank of Thedford, and Beel Construction. The sack lunch provided to the golfers was the compliments of Sandhill Oil Company. And thank you to the Thedford Golf Course for allowing us to hold the tournament there as well as BJ Thomas for helping wrangle the carts.

The final event for the evening of Sept. 20 was the Educational, Performance & Carcass Contest Banquet. We filled the Sandhills Corral in Thedford with folks wanting to learn more about how the calves performed in the contest. We dined on prime rib generously prepared by the Sandhills Corral staff and sponsored by CHS of Valentine and sipped our drinks thanks to our friends at Western Nebraska Bank. Bill Rishel of Rishel Angus and beef industry legend, graciously agreed to step in as the evening speaker. He spoke to the group about the beef industry changes, checkoff, and so much more. You can find the 2020 Results on our website.

The next day, they started bright and early with the 81st Annual Convention, enjoying doughnuts and coffee generously donated by RioMax 360 representative Shane Keller. The first speakers of the day were Craig Luttrell and Bob Scheer of Tyson Foods. They talked to participants about how to increase your profit margins through their programs such as Non-Hormone Treated Cattle, Verified Natural Beef and Global Animal Partnership. Next up, Rosemary Anderson and Bree DeNaeyer spoke about the Beef Checkoff’s role in the industry, specifically their roles in the program.


We followed them with a nice roast beef sandwich lunch sponsored by Sandhills State Bank, prepared by Ewoldt’s Grocery in Thedford. During lunch, the Annual Membership Meeting took place. A treasurer’s report was given by Ryan Adamson, followed by a membership number report by Liz Kierl. Matt Blackford gave an update on the EP&C Contest, and Rick Marlatt gave a report on the tour, and finally, Matt Blackford informed the group how the scholarship program went for the year.

This year, they had a little different circumstance to deal with since an executive board member stepped off the committee, and the convention was moved from May to September. The executive board proposed the following:

Convention 2020 to January 2021

Past President: Bonnie Downing

President: Matt Blackford

Vice President: Darian Fuelberth

Treasurer: Ryan Adamson

Interim: Rick Marlatt

January 2021 to Convention 2021

Past President: Matt Blackford

President: Ryan Adamson

Vice President: Rick Marlatt

Treasurer: Darian Fuelberth

Brock Moreland moved to accept the executive board nominations, with Bree DeNaeyer seconding the motion. All present voted in favor.

Nominations were taken from the crowd for the third opening for the board of directors. Jeremy Cast moved to nominate Valerie Matulka along with Rodney Gray and Sam Hunt to the board of directors, with Ryan Adamson seconding the motion. All present voted in favor. That concluded the Membership Meeting.

Next, thanks to our sponsors at Merck Animal Health, Dr. Travis Mulliniks, range nutritionist and beef production specialist with the University of Nebraska, spoke to the group about the importance of a cow’s milk ability and its overall effect on your herd performance. We rounded out the speakers with the Peterson Farm Brothers from Kansas thanks to the Thedford Area Community Foundation’s generous sponsorship. They change popular song lyrics into agriculture-based education song pieces to help the public better understand ag in general.

During the whole event, folks were given the opportunity to cruise through the trade show and browse what the 53 vendors had to offer.


Thanks to the sponsorship by Zoetis, participants could also view the nine pens of bred heifers for the 6th Annual Pen of Three Contest. Jim Latoski, ag instructor and livestock judging coach with Colby Community College, and Jay Nordhausen, owner and manager of Ogallala Livestock, judged the pens officially. Each convention participant was given an opportunity to head over to the pens to select their favorites and place them accordingly. Connie Kuell of Thedford was the adult winner and Taylor Battershaw of Valentine FFA was the youth winner and each received $50. The Grand Champion Pen of Three Bred Heifers was awarded to Minert-Simonson Angus Ranch — JW and Cindy Simonson of Dunning with Pen 6. They received a vaccine cooler from Zoetis valued at $600, plus a windmill with a ribbon to signify their achievement. Reserve Champion was awarded to Shane Pettit of Stapleton with Pen 9. He was awarded a cow hide photo album with a smaller windmill and ribbon trophy. The People’s Choice Pen went to Pen 8, which was also owned by Minert-Simonson Angus Ranch —JW and Cindy Simonson. They received a leather briefcase and a windmill and ribbon trophy.

The final event of the Convention was the Scholarship Benefit Auction. Each year, the Sandhills Cattle Association awards $7,500 worth of scholarships to the Sandhills Cattle Association members’ youth. The benefit auction serves as an avenue to raise money to keep the funding for the scholarships for years to come. Thanks to the generous donations of area individuals and businesses, auctioneer Duane McClain with Nebraska Land Brokers was able to raise $7,086.50 to be placed into the Scholarship Funds accounts.

The 82nd Annual Convention will be held on Sept. 20-21, 2021, at the Cherry County Fairgrounds in Valentine, Neb.


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