The show must go on: Beef Empire Days to return in June for 53rd year

Meghan Flynn
Garden City Telegram
Area residents make their way through the food serving lines in a tent during a past Beef Empire Days Chuckwagons at the Zoo Community Feed on the west lawn of Lee Richardson Zoo. Beef Empire Days will be returning this year with events after a year off from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Beef Empire Days is returning for their 53rd year in June after a year off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 10-day celebration of the beef industry will run from June 4-13.

Kashly Van Petten, president of the Beef Empire Days Board of Directors, is excited for Beef Empire Days return.

"After, like many of the ... across the nation Beef Empire Days had to cancel in 2020, that would be the first time that we didn't have the Beef Empire Days celebration in over 50 years," she said. "We're most certainly excited to have Beef Empire Days back in 2021."

The main goal of the celebration this year is to bring back normalcy to the community, Van Petten said. The majority of their events from previous years will happen.

One event that won't return as it was is the carnival, it will be a smaller this year, Van Petten said. The reason is the lack of labor.

"Our carnival uses folks from other countries to come in during the season and he's unable to get that labor source right now due to COVID restrictions coming into the country," she said. "So we're looking at different options for our carnival this year, but other than that, the majority of our events are as they have been in the past."

One new event is the Beef on Dairy Symposium, which focuses on education in the beef industry, which is a main pillar of Beef Empire Days, Van Petten said. The event will look at the state of the beef industry today and in the future.

"It's going to feature a panel of experts in the beef and dairy industries and we're looking forward to bringing that to the event this year just to provide another source for industry stakeholders to gain education that maybe they wouldn't have the chance to hear from some of these speakers in other avenues," she said.

Few restrictions will be in place for Beef Empire Days, Van Petten said. Social distancing is encouraged and face coverings are optional but will be made available for those who feel the need to wear one.

The biggest restriction is capacity limits at the Finney County Fairgrounds, where the majority of events take place, Van Petten said.

"I don't think it's going to hurt our attendance in any way, we can operate very well under those limitation, which still allows for social distancing and to make sure that we're cautious in that way," she said.

Schedule of Events

June 4

Garden City Open Tennis Tournament, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Garden City High School tennis courts

Finney County Public Library, Summer Reading Kickoff, 10-11 a.m. at Finney County Public Library

Commerce Bank Ranch Rodeo featuring the Businessman's Mugging, 7-10 p.m. at the Finney County Fairgrounds

June 5

Hoof it to Health Road Run, 7-8 a.m. at the YMCA

Beef Empire Days Softball Tournament, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Peebles Complex

Grill Master Cook-off, 5-9 p.m. at Steven's Park

Western State Bank Beef, Beer & Boots, 5:30-11 p.m. at Steven's Park

June 6

Loewen Farms Feedlot and Sponsors Team Roping and Barrel Racing, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the fairgrounds

June 8

Merck Animal Health Live Show, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the fairgrounds

Public Pick 5, 12-1 p.m. at the fairgrounds

June 9

Sponsors Reception, 6-10 p.m. at the Clarion Inn

People's Choice Auction, 8:30-9:30 p.m. at the Clarion Inn

June 10

Cattle Working Contest, 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Irsik and Doll Feedyard

June 11

United Wireless Community Children's Parade, 10:30-11:30 a.m. at Steven's Park

Awards Banquet, 6-9 p.m. at the Clarion Inn.

June 12

Western Motor Beef Empire Days Parade, 10-11 a.m. on Main Street

Landmark National Bank Chuckwagons at the Zoo, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Lee Richardson Zoo

June 13

Cattle Crawl, 4:30-5:30 p.m. at The Baron

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