Published 5/29/2012 in Beef Empire Days
44th annual Beef Empire Days promises something for everyone.
By ANGIE HAFLICH
Laurie Sisk/Telegram Rusty Tooley applies the brand as Gene Jett, front, and Jeremy King assist for the Scott City Double C Cattle Co. team at the 2011 Beef Empire Days Ranch Rodeo at the Finney County Fairgrounds.
Brad Nading/Telegram Randy Harp sorts through a group of cattle while judging the 2011 Beef Empire Days live show at the Finney County Fairgrounds. Harp is an associate professor of animal science at Tarleton State.
Brad Nading/Telegram Grady Hammer, 12, Wallace, looks over a set of steers from inside a pen as another pair of participants sit on one of the pen's rails during the 2011 Beef Empire Days livestock judging event at the Finney County Fairgrounds. The event was open to 4-H youth members and adults.
Brad Nading/Telegram Mitchell Gorman runs the chute as he and a youth team from Meade County Feeders compete in the 2011 Beef Empire Days Cattle Working Contest at Finney County Feedyard. The group was the only youth competitors.
Brad Nading/Telegram Mario Aguilar, right, applies a tag to a cow's ear as Noel Escamilla prepares a sample for virus testing while competing in the 2011 Beef Empire Days Cattle Working Contest at Finney County Feedyard. The pair along with Dusty Penick were competing as a team from Reeve Cattle Company.
Beef Empire Days is set to kick off on Wednesday, and the 44th annual event promises to be packed full of entertainment, education and excellent cuisine. "Make Mine Beef" is this year's theme as area cattle ranchers, local feed yards and beef-related businesses come together to promote the beef industry.
Two of the event's main attractions every year are the Live and Carcass shows.
"It is the grand thing of it all. That's how Beef Empire Days started," Beef Empire Days Executive Director Deann Gillen-Lehman said.
The Merck Animal Health Live Show will kick off the 12-day celebration at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Finney County Fairgrounds. In this show, judges predict which of the live heifers and steers will produce the highest quality of beef.
In the carcass, or post-slaughter show, judges determine the quality of beef, which also helps them determine if judges accurately predicted the quality of the live animals.
The Carcass Show takes place at 2 p.m. Friday at the Tyson Fresh Meats Inc. complex. The Live and Carcass shows emphasize the economic impact of commercial cattle feeding and the beef industry to the area.
Awards for the Live and Carcass shows will be presented at 5:30 p.m. Saturday during the Beef Empire Days awards dinner, which will take place at the Clarion Inn. Awards include the Earl C. Brookover Memorial Award, the Overall Grand Champion Carcass Award, the Grand Champion Heifer Carcass Award and Grand Champion cash awards.
Beef Empire Days began in 1968 when John Dohogne developed the idea to celebrate the beef industry.
Through the years, the goals that Dohogne and the original 13 feedyard operators who helped start the event had remain the same: to advance the production and quality of beef, and to provide communication, continued education and the promotion of beef. Since its beginning, Beef Empire Days has evolved into an entity in and of itself, involving hundreds of people and close to 100 local sponsors.
"It's a year process. We have the committees, and everybody does their job, and the board. So it's not just one person, it is a group effort," Gillen-Lehman said.
While the goals have remained the same, the event itself has come to play host to a number of smaller events and competitions. Gillen-Lehman said that one of these attractions is the Black Hills Energy Beef Empire Days Parade, which will take place at 10:30 a.m. June 9. There are cash prizes and ribbons for parade participants: $75 for first place, $50 for second place, and a ribbon for third, in all of the categories — adult, youth, 4-H, commercial, vehicle and animal. The judging takes place as the parade travels down Main Street. Those interested in participating in the parade must pre-register by completing an entry form and returning it to the Beef Empire Days office no later than June 6.
Directly following the parade is Chuckwagons in the Park, in which participants can sample several variations of beef.
"Well usually, we try and cook some of the less expensive pieces of meat to show people that they can be prepared and be just as good as the expensive ones," Brian Price, manager of Brookover Feedyards, said.
Price has been chairman of this event for the last six or seven years.
"A lot of the feed yards send people to help me cook it and prepare it and set it out. We have a lot of volunteers that come help serve the tables, do things like that," Price said. "I have three chuckwagons come and they kind of cook it the old, authentic type way, and then we'll have some other people that have regular barbecue grills and they'll cook some of it, too."
The three chuckwagons are brought in by local residents Bob Baker, Dale and Rick Corbett, and Dan Krause.
"Then we'll have some other people within the cattle industry that will help cook it and prepare it," Price said.
He said that they usually serve 800 to 900 people.
"We serve until the meat runs out," Price said.
Gillen-Lehman said that The Beef Empire Days PRCA Rodeo is separate from Beef Empire Days, but the rodeo has come to be a regularly-occurring fixture during the event. It will take place June 6 through 9 at the Finney County Fairgrounds. Along with stock contractor Korkow Rodeos, which provides stock to the top cowboys and cowgirls on the rodeo circuit, rodeo clown Gizmo McCracken will be on hand, providing comedy relief.
Tickets to the rodeo are available at Crazy House, Baker Boot, Beef Empire Days PRCA Rodeo Office or can be purchased by phone at 276-1000 or toll-free at (866) 294-BEEF.
There are a variety of other events taking place during Beef Empire Days, as well, including Cowboy Church featuring Partners of the Prairie, a horseshoe tournament, a four-man scramble golf tournament at Buffalo Dunes Golf Course, and softball and archery tournaments.
On Friday, there also will be a children's story hour, hosted by Dan Dan the Magic Man, at the Finney County Public Library. The Ranch Rodeo also is scheduled for Friday at the Finney County Fairgrounds Arena.
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