Livestock expo set for Saturday
This Saturday’s Jackson County Livestock Association annual exposition will be the 30th such event in the association’s history — and likely the last at its longtime home, the Jackson County Fair Building.
Where the Livestock Expo will go next year is one of the changes that the annual event is undergoing, with some of those changes coming this year, according to Livestock Association president Chad Bontrager. But for those who attend, it’s still a good opportunity to learn about taking better care of livestock — and have a good time with others in the same line of work.
“It’s going to be a great event,” Bontrager said. “We’ve got some good educational speakers lined up, the meal’s going to be good as always and the entertainment’s going to be good.”
For several years, the Expo has been held at the Jackson County Fair Building, which was recently sold, along with adjacent properties, to the Holton school district for construction of a new elementary school. The Fair Building may be remodeled into a bus barn for the district, it has been reported.
But before the Expo undergoes a change of venue for next year, it’s also undergoing a change of scheduling for this year, starting at 4 p.m. rather than earlier in the day as in previous years. The Expo’s “trade show” will also not be featured this year, Bontrager added.
“One of the things we’ve heard from the exhibitors is that they buy a booth space and they’ve got somebody there for half a day, investing their time, and the folks they see are people they’re already doing business with anyway,” he said. “For the exhibitors, it’s not really a big opportunity to drum up new business, and for the attendees, it’s not an opportunity to be exposed to any new vendors or suppliers.”
Farmers and ranchers who normally attend the show have expressed similar sentiment, and Bontrager said that rather than invite the vendors back to the Expo, those vendors have been invited to sponsor the event and attend the dinner instead.
Doors to the Fair Building will open at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, with the first of two educational sessions to start at 4 p.m. The first session will be hosted by Kansas State University associate professor Mike Brouk, who Bontrager said will give a presentation on foraging.
At 4:30 p.m., Mike Irvin, legislative counsel and director of the Kansas Farm Bureau Legal Foundation, will talk on transition of ownership of the family from from one owner to another, “whether that’s the next generation of the family, or whatever the case may be,” Bontrager said.
The Expo’s annual dinner will begin at 5 p.m. with ribeye steaks, baked potatoes, green beans, rolls and ice cream, with Gary Bell and Friends providing musical entertainment. Bontrager said the dinner, which is included in the full day’s cost of $15, is open to the public and usually attracts a large number of diners.
“We usually have somewhere between 400 and 500 folks there, and 450’s been a pretty consistent number for us,” he said. “Last year, I think we cooked 480 steaks.”
The after-dinner program, set to begin at 6:30 p.m. will featured Concordia, Mo.-based entertainment group Sanford Lee and Associates, which Bontrager said puts on “an old West medicine show.” Following recognition of distinguished area stockmen and annual JCLA honorees, including scholarship winners, a dance featuring Osawatomie-based Silver Bullet Band will begin at 8 p.m.
The Expo’s western wear fashion show, usually put on after dinner, will not be a part of this year’s event, Bontrager said. The fashion show had been presented in previous years by Roy Frey Western Wear of Topeka, which closed this past year, he added.