Industry representatives and community members alike mingled and celebrated beef at the Clarion Inn Friday night at Beef Empire Days’ Awards Banquet, a time spent first and foremost honoring the winners of the festival’s events.
Midwest Feeders in Ingalls took home the Earl C. Brookover Memorial Award, a steer statue passed to a different feedyard each year, for its award-winning steer tagged 220. Midwest and Irsik and Doll Feedyard in Garden City each took home top prizes in the Live & Carcass show: over best heifer for Irsik and Doll and overall best steer for Midwest. Triangle H's steer tagged 246, which did not break into the top 25 steers at the Live Show, was awarded the prize for grand champion overall carcass.
Local high schoolers Adeline Bricker, Gatlin Clawson, Sage Hoskinson, Emma McClure, Megan Newlon and Jaeden Werth were all awarded Beef Empire Days scholarships.
Among the winners was the event’s 18th annual Mary Hopkins Award, a title bestowed upon someone who demonstrates the same volunteer spirit, hard work and dedication to the beef industry as Hopkins, the late, longtime Beef Empire Days director. This year, the award goes to Triangle H’s head of cattle operations, Sam Hands.
According to his Beef Empire Days bio, Hands is a fourth generation cattleman, joining the industry himself in 1957 when he bought 12 bred Angus heifers with his dad. A Kansas State University graduate and Vietnam veteran, he has been involved with Beef Empire Days since 1971, eventually serving as its president, board member, and now, honoree.
Hands, along with his brothers, Greg and Cedric, is a founding member of Triangle H Grain & Cattle Co., today managing the company’s two feedyards in Plymell and Deerfield. He’s served on and headed a myriad of cattle and farm organizations and has been decorated with many industry awards, according to the bio. Today, he sits on boards for the KSU Livestock and Meat Industry Council, State FFA Foundation and Finney County Economic Development Corp., according to the bio.
Recovering in Wichita from a fall from a horse, he was not able to make the ceremony, but that wasn’t the point. The Mary Hopkins Award is an award for someone who has been dedicated to beef and Beef Empire Days, someone who is hands-on and making a difference, said Stacey Carr, the event’s executive director. That’s Hands, she said.
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