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Beef Empire Days parade to 'Make Mine Beef'

Published 5/29/2012 in Beef Empire Days

By JOSEPH JACKMOVICH

jjackmovich@gctelegram.com

With the annual Beef Empire Days celebration about to begin, coming along with it will be its signature parade.

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Brad Nading/Telegram Area residents line Main Street to watch the 2011 Black Hills Energy Beef Empire Days parade.

Brad Nading/Telegram Area residents line Main Street to watch the 2011 Black Hills Energy Beef Empire Days parade.

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Telegram photo  LaDonna Brown, Jetmore, drives a 1959 John Deere tractor along the parade route during the 2011 Black Hills Energy Beef Empire Days parade.

Telegram photo LaDonna Brown, Jetmore, drives a 1959 John Deere tractor along the parade route during the 2011 Black Hills Energy Beef Empire Days parade.

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Brad Nading/Telegram Lilly Moore, 5, peers around a trio of pink balloons decorating her bicycle while participating in the 2011 Beef Empire Days High Plains Public Radio Children's Parade.

Brad Nading/Telegram Lilly Moore, 5, peers around a trio of pink balloons decorating her bicycle while participating in the 2011 Beef Empire Days High Plains Public Radio Children's Parade.

The 2012 Black Hills Energy Beef Empire Days Parade will take place at 10:30 a.m. June 9, with this year's theme of "Make Mine Beef." The parade brings together individuals or groups to participate in a celebration of both Beef Empire Days and the community at large. The number of entrants in the parade averages between 80 and 100 each year, with last year's parade reaching almost 100 entrants.

There is no charge for entering the parade, but the deadline for entry is June 6. A $75 prize will be awarded for first place, and a $50 prize will be awarded for second place in the five parade categories of youth group or band, commercial, 4-H group, vehicle or animal. Judging for the entries will take place as the parade makes its estimated 45-minute route down Main Street, from the American Legion, 405 S. Main St., to its destination at Walnut Street.

"I have been doing it for 20 years, and we get a variety every time," Beef Empire Days Executive Director Deann Gillen-Lehman said about the types of entries she usually sees in the parade. She said she has had a good turnout so far, but that most entries will be arriving in the final days before the June 6 deadline.

Participants in the parade can assemble in the staging area at The Finney County Fairgrounds parking lot beginning at 8 a.m., with everyone in place by 9:45 a.m. While on the route, parade participants are reminded that no candy or favors can be thrown to attendees, though participants are free to have someone walk the sides of the route to hand out treats instead. The rule is also a Garden City city ordinance designed to keep children from running into the street if candy doesn't make the distance to their hands on the sides of the route.

Leading the parade on horseback will be Grand Marshall and Satanta resident Jim Miller. He was selected in part due to his decades of volunteering and participating in Beef Empire Days.

Born in Lawrence, Miller has been a resident of Satanta since he was 12. He farmed for 13 years before building Miller Feed Yard in 1969, going from 2,500 cattle to 17,500 when he sold the business last year.

"We grew quite a little bit," Miller said. "I built the thing myself with my own two hands. I dug the post holes, laid the pipe and learned how to weld."

Miller has been a part of Beef Empire Days since 1969. He has participated in events like the Live and Carcass shows annually, as well as serving on the Beef Empire Days Board of Directors many years ago. He said that since its beginnings, Beef Empire Days has grown to be a huge event.

One of his favorite Beef Empire Days memories was one year when he and his business partner had the final two heifers in the Live Show, meaning that one of them would take first place and the other would take second. Miller bet $25 he would win the Live Show and lost, but eventually broke even after making the same bet and winning the carcass competition. That award was one of several that Miller said he was won throughout the years with his cattle.

Currently the owner of Miller Land and Cattle Co., Satanta, Miller said that he was thankful for the chance to be grand marshall in the parade.

"I was honored they asked me," Miller said. "It's quite an honor to be given the title of grand marshall."

The parade also will be bookended by food events at Stevens Park for hungry attendees looking to fill up. From 6:30 to 9:30 a.m., the Commerce Bank Chuckwagon Breakfast will take place, providing all-you-can-eat beef sausage and pancakes for $2. The Chuckwagons in the Park Community Feed will take place following the parade at about 11:45 a.m., giving attendees the chance to try a variety of beef samples.

Gillen-Lehman encouraged the community to come out and see the parade, stating it was a nice way to spend a morning with the family.

"It's just fun for the whole family to come out and see the floats and everybody involved," Gillen-Lehman said. "The kids love to participate."

To find out more information about the Black Hills Energy Beef Empire Days Parade or how to enter, visit www.beefempiredays.com or call 275-6807.

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