Brady Achievement Day is celebrated the first weekend of August
In the fall of 1961 the Brady Lions decided there was a need for the large number of 4-H club members to have a pre-showing of their projects before the county fair. A date was chosen so that it could be held two weeks before the fair. This would give the youth and the animals involved, the opportunity to become accustomed to crowds and noise to show their livestock before a real judge, not just Mom and Dad.
The county agent was asked to judge the livestock and trophies were donated for those that placed at the top of their division. This all had a very humble beginning. The first beef show was held on a shady road on the east edge of Brady, Neb. The horse show was held at an old rodeo arena southeast of town. The horse club had 30 to 40 very active members who loved to compete.
As interest grew, the livestock show was moved over near the old arena. Pens were set up for the swine and sheep to be shown. The largest group was the beef animals. In its hay day the number of beef and breeding stock to be judged must have numbered between 50 to 60 head.
The livestock was shown and judged in the forenoon. This was followed by a community picnic. A parade was held in the afternoon with an array of bands, floats, horse clubs and clowns. Pioneers were also honored each year and usually rode in a buggy or classic car during the parade. This tradition is still incorporated into the celebration.
Our largest celebration was undoubtedly, the one held in conjunction with the Brady Centennial in 1989. Folks went all out that year. A well-researched Brady area history was published and on sale. The activities began on a Thursday with opening ceremonies held at the football field – Friday’s events ranged from a beard contest to an old time movie shown outdoors. Saturday, the big day, started with a breakfast, the livestock show, games, a large parade, antique show, dinner, crafts, flower show, more games, a barbecue and ended with a marvelous pageant presented at the football field. Sunday a 4-H club again served breakfast, a community church service was held, more games and the celebration ending with a second presentation of the pageant.
Now days, the 4-H numbers have dwindled in our area so the celebration centers on the community with school reunions incorporated. The three-day celebration is always held the first weekend of August. The Community Center now sits along Main Street and many activities are held in this roomy, air-conditioned building. There is a Family Night sponsored by the town with a free hotdog feed and entertainment on Friday night. Saturday the Junior Class serves breakfast at the community building. The parade is held in the forenoon with bands, floats and the works. The Svea Dal Church women then come into Brady and put on a noon lunch that includes homemade pie.
There are all types of activities; turtle races, penny carnival, a Slip and Slide, craft show, softball, sand volleyball, horseshoe tournament, and just plain fun. Saturday evening there is a barbecue sponsored by the fire department followed by a dance with good music.
Sunday starts out with a community church service followed by a breakfast served by the Methodist women. The day then is filled with more games and activities.
Brady is a small town with a big spirit. The area population is filled with those dedicated to their community and willing to volunteer. This is not uncommon. All over the nation, throughout the summer, there are little towns that manage to produce and support festivals and rodeos to accommodate those seeking fine country entertainment. It’s American tradition and spirit at its best. May it continue to thrive far into the future!