McCook Farm and Ranch Expo gears up with the latest in ranch technology
for The Fence Post
Ranchers interested in the latest cattle equipment and technology won’t want to miss the 11th Annual McCook Farm and Ranch Expo Nov 14-15. The event will be held at the Red Willow Fair Grounds in McCook, Neb.
More than 400 vendors from 25 states, in addition to Canada and Australia, are expected to fill five buildings at the fairgrounds. Most of the vendors will be located in climate-controlled buildings. “The facilities are phenomenal,” said Darren Dale of Star Expos, who owns the event. “Tom Kiplinger built and privately funded the first building, the Kiplinger Arena, over 15 years ago. Since then, he funded two additional buildings and two stall barns. His latest accomplishment is another indoor rodeo arena that is 130 by 320 feet. It is massive. These facilities have helped us grow the farm show tremendously, and has helped McCook by really turning it into a hub. We were so lucky that Tom was so giving. That’s how the facility was started in a town of 6,500 people. To have something like this here is unbelievable,” he said.
The expo will kick off on Wednesday with a free producer breakfast from 7:30-9 a.m. The show will be open on Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and on Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission and parking are both free. Dale expects a large crowd during the two-day event. “We get a good crowd from western Nebraska, northeastern Colorado and northwestern Kansas,” he said. “If you are looking for livestock equipment, it is the place to be. It is a great place to come see the newest and latest in farming and ranching technology practices.”
Vendors include many cutting-edge displays for farm and ranch equipment, seed and chemicals, agricultural services, irrigation manufacturers, financial providers, commodity organizations, colleges, government services, home services, furniture and art galleries, boutiques, hats, boots and more, Dale said.
The show will feature live entertainment. Dale said they are also planning a question, answer and interview session that will be hosted by rodeo announcer Jared Slagle. “We will have everything from FFA chapters to celebrities to sponsors and special guests who will be interviewed throughout the show on the Fenoglio Boots Stage. Fenoglio Boots out of Nocona, Texas, is a new vendor for us this year. They make handmade cowboy boots that are made in America,” he said.
Live cattle handling demonstrations will be held, and several local seedstock producers will be bringing some of their top bulls to display during the show.
During the expo, the Tres Rios Silver Working Ranch Horse Sale will be held Wednesday at 6 p.m. The event will feature 15 high-quality ranch horses. “There is strict criteria they need to meet to be in the sale. I feel like the horses represent me, so I want really high quality, sound, great horses that anyone can use,” Dale said. “All of the horses in the sale are guaranteed sound, and are good working ranch horses. It is a strict process to meet, but people that are spending that kind of money deserve a high-quality animal, and that’s what they can get at this sale. The highest selling horse and buyer will receive a beautiful Tres Rios belt buckle,” he said.
In conjunction with the horse sale, a benefit auction will be held for the local FFA chapters. “Students from the local chapters have made everything from flagpoles to trailers that will be auctioned off with all the proceeds going back to the local FFA chapters. Last year, we raised close to $15,000 for the area FFA students,” he said.
Horse clinician JD Wing of the T-Cross Ranches out of Pueblo and Colorado Springs will once again be holding clinics on topics from starting colts to tuning up finished horses. “JD is the head trainer at the T-Cross Ranch. He is very knowledgeable, and gives clinics at all of our expos,” Dale said.
A full schedule of the expo and a catalog of the sale horses should be available within a week. “Our business is family-owned by my wife, Tana, our two children, and we are very proud of how our business has progressed from a vision to producing more than 28 farm shows with help from a few family friends,” he said. “It is very rewarding to see the vendors make that relationship with producers that helps both of them succeed. We are proud to be a part of that.”
More information about the McCook Farm and Ranch Expo can be found on their facebook page or on their website: StarExpos.net. They can be reached at (866) 685-0989.
— Clark is a freelance livestock journalist from western Nebraska. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.