Dr. Harold J. Tuma will serve as the parade marshal for the “BEEF, 50 years strong!” Beef Empire Days parade.

Tuma was the first ever Beef Empire Days carcass show judge in 1969, and 49 years later, he’s back to celebrate the 50th anniversary.

Beef Empire Days historian and ex officio board member Ray Purdy said the board based its selection of the parade marshal on historic significance.

“The board felt that made a lot of sense to go back as far as we could with some of the first people that really made the show and honor them,” he said.

The American State Bank Beef Empire Days Parade, with a theme of “BEEF, 50 years strong!” is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. June 9 on Main Street. Traditionally Garden City’s largest parade, more than 100 entries are once again expected to participate.

At 85 years old, Tuma said he was “delighted” to be asked back to participate in the event, adding that he has fond memories of Garden City and the people who started the Beef Empire Days show all those years ago.

He said the steer that took first place in the original 1969 live show also came in first in the carcass show that year.

“That doesn’t happen very often,” he said.

Tuma was a member of the Kansas Sate University intercollegiate livestock judging team and has won major contests at the Denver National Western and the Kansas City American Royal.

From 1961 to 1986, Tuma was a professor at K-State, a department head at South Dakota University and the dean of the College of Agriculture at the University of Wyoming.

While he was a professor of animal science at KSU, he researched ways to improve the accuracy of carcass evaluation. He also judged many beef carcass shows and served on the International Board for FarmHouse, a North American fraternity for men, from 1968 to 1972.

In 1970, he developed Flint Hills Foods, Inc., a meat processing company later sold to Hormel and Co. in 2004. He was also a co-owner, developer and operator of Country Fisherman, Inc., a family seafood and southern country cooking buffet franchise, and he served as an Army infantry officer from 1956 to 1958.

Tuma is currently a co-owner of MPMD, LLC, which is dedicated to developing fast food enterprises in North Carolina, and JH Development, LLC, which has developed multiple Marco’s Pizza restaurants.