By Frank J. Buchman
Cattlemen from throughout the Midwest will be gathering for The Flint Hills Beef Fest, Friday through Sunday, Aug. 22-24, at the Lyon County Fairgrounds in Emporia.
"The Flint Hills Beef Fest was founded as an annual celebration of the grass cattle industry, offering cattlemen the opportunity to enter stocker cattle in a summer grazing competition, as well as feedlot and carcass shows," said Shelly Wiggins, committee member for the Flint Hills Beef Fest.
The event has continued to grow each year and is now anticipated by not only ranchers, but people of widely diverse interests for the full slate of fun and educational activities supplementing the original schedule of intent," Wiggins noted.
Kicking off the Flint Hills Beef Fest is the Beef Producers Information Seminar, hosted by the 580 WIBW Farm Department, Friday morning, Aug. 22, featuring a live broadcast of the 580 WIBW Ag Roundup program at 6 o'clock, a pancake and sausage breakfast at 7:15, and the informational program at 8:15.
Speakers include Tracy Brunner, Ramona rancher serving as vice president of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association; Aaron Popelka, vice president of legal and government affairs for the Kansas Livestock Association; and Glenn Tonsor, livestock economist from Kansas State University.
The breakfast and program are free, but reservations are needed by calling the Lyon County Extension Office at 620-341-3220, or emailing [email protected].
Following the seminar, there will be a practical range plant tour until noon, and the Beef Fest Barbecue Cook-Off gets underway during the afternoon, with a cowboy's feed, ranch rodeo and entertainment by Backyard Legend Band in the evening.
Teams entered in the ranch rodeo include Arndt & Bailey Ranches, Buck Creek Ranch, Davis Cattle Company, H Cross & Broken H; Keith Cattle Company, KW Cattle Company, Lonesome Pine Ranch, McGhee Cattle Company, Miller Ranch, Reed Ranch, Rezac Land & Livestock and Scribner Ranch.
Highlight of Saturday attractions will be the Live Stocker Cattle Show during the morning at the Emporia Livestock sale pavilion evaluating cattle that have been grazing Flint Hills pastures throughout the summer.
Saturday's events also include a 5K Ranchland Trust benefit run/walk, kids' tractor pull, ranch horse competitions, pony wagon rides, trade show, barbecue judging, hay bale throwing contest, free hamburgers at noon, cow patty toss, and recognition of the barbecue contest winners.
The Flint Hills Beef Fest awards banquet steak supper begins at 5:30, with recognition of top entries in the summer cattle grazing competition. Entertainment is to by agriculture humorist Jay Hendren, and the Bluestem Swingers will square dance at 9 o'clock.
Local native, now prominent country music artist Ricky Fugitt is to entertain for a cowboy dance at the nearby Bowyer Building.
A golf tournament is slated for Sunday morning, Aug. 24, concluding the weekend activities.
More information can be found at www.beeffest.com.
Frank Buchman is a rancher and writer located in the Flint Hills.