McCook Farm and Ranch Expo celebrates 10th annual with largest show yet
For The Fence Post
This is the third time representatives from Lewis Cattle Oilers made the trip to McCook, Neb., to exhibit their special cattle oilers at the McCook Farm and Ranch Expo.
“We have known about this show for a long time,” said Ken Roberts, who is with the company. “Our oilers are made in Bryan, Texas, but we travel to this show because we sell a lot of oilers during the two days we are here. It has been a good show to reach potential customers,” he noted.
Lewis Cattle Oilers was amongst more than 400 vendors from 25 states, plus Australia and Canada, who participated in this year’s expo. The 10th annual McCook Farm and Ranch Expo was Nov. 15-16 at the Kiplinger Arena Complex at the Red Willow County Fairgrounds.
The show drew people from several areas, but especially southwest Nebraska and northwest Kansas, according to show organizer Darren Dale. Farmers attending the event can find anything from tractors and machinery to seed and fertilizer. Ranchers could view the latest in cattle chutes, portable alleyways, and windbreaks, as well as livestock feed and mineral. There were items for the home, ranch, and farm.
“The goal of attending the expo is to take advantage of the latest agricultural technology, research and equipment,” Dale said.
Horse training demonstrations were given both days by JD Wing.
“JD is the head horse trainer for the Tee Cross Ranches,” according to Dale. “The famous Tee Cross brand was the first brand registered in the state of Colorado, and is synonymous with quality in both its’ Quarter Horse and cattle. Robert C. “Bob” Norris has a rich and prestigious history in the cattle, cutting and Quarter Horse world. The Tee Cross Ranches were nominated for the AQHA’s Best Remuda Award. This award recognizes ranching operations that produced their own breeding program of outstanding Quarter Horses, used not only on the ranch, but having produced quality horses used in competition around the world.”
The event also featured a ranch horse sale and FFA benefit auction, live cattle displays, a demonstration by Walker Mowers, a wine tasting event and presentations by the Red Willow County Health Department. A strategic heifer retention seminar was also presented by speakers from Zoetis and the University of Nebraska.
During the past 10 years, the show was tremendously successful and grew each year, according to Dale, who said the event is a family affair. He plans and organizes the event with help from his wife, Tana, and children, Taos, 12, and Taya, 6.
“The McCook Farm and Ranch Expo was a brainstorm of mine,” Dale said. “I started from scratch 10 years ago. I made a floor plan of the facility, and then started selling booths. It has grown from there.”
Dale selected McCook as the site for the expo because at that time, it was the largest indoor facility he could find between Omaha and Denver.
“It gave us the square footage and size we needed to hold an event like this, and it’s located right in the heart of production agriculture,” he said.
Since the first show in 2008, the facility has received a face lift.
“They have added on and built it up during the last 10 years, which can mostly be attributed to an area rancher named Tom Kiplinger, who had these buildings built and then donated them to the fairgrounds,” Dale said.
In the past 10 years, the Tom Kiplinger Arena was added, as well as the Alice Kiplinger Building, which was named after Tom’s mother. The Trudy Arena and numerous stall barns have also been added, and have really helped events like the McCook Farm and Ranch Expo grow, Dale said.
The expo has grown to the point vendors utilize all the buildings and square footage available.
“The farmers and ranchers who come to the Expo see a lot of farm and livestock equipment,” Dale said. “It is also an easy drive from a lot of areas. We have people come from as far away as Valentine and Scottsbluff, Nebraska, as well as Phillipsburg and northwest Kansas.”
The Dale family makes their home between Bird City, Kan., and Benkleman, Neb. Since starting the McCook show, the Dale’s also have taken over the organization of shows in Wichita Falls, Texas and Great Bend, Kan.
As far as the McCook show goes, Dale said they plan to just continue growing the show through more vendors and more farmers and ranchers. ❖
— Clark is a freelance livestock journalist from western Nebraska. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.