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McCook Farm and Ranch Expo expands with new building

November 17, 2017 GMT

MCCOOK — Darren Dale of Bird City, Kansas, had a vision of promoting agricultural equipment, research and technology to producers at a slack time for farmers and ranchers.

The McCook Farm and Ranch Expo, born of that vision, marked its 10th anniversary this week.

Dale gave some credit for the expo’s existence to Tom Kiplinger of McCook, who he said had provided funding for exhibit buildings at the Red Willow Fairgrounds.

“His vision aided my vision, and 2017 marks the 10th anniversary of the McCook Farm and Ranch Expo,” Dale said. “Tom passed away a few months ago, but not before he aided the Red Willow Ag Society with another building on the fairgrounds, which allowed us to offer more space to larger equipment vendors.”

This year, 450 vendors from 27 states, Canada and Australia participated in the expo Wednesday and Thursday. The expo always been held the week before Thanksgiving. Most years, the crops have been harvested, and the calves have been weaned, so it is a good time for producers to be thinking and planning for next year.

The first day of the 2017 Expo at McCook saw shirtsleeve weather, unusual for Nebraska in mid-November. Dale and some of the vendors attributed lower attendance on the first day to harvest not being complete for many farmers.

Dale and his wife, Tana, formed Star Enterprises and now offer a trifecta of farm and ranch expos, which besides the one at McCook, includes expos in Wichita Falls, Texas, in March and in Great Bend, Kansas, in April.

He credited the success of all the expos to his corporate sponsors: Plains Equipment, American Hat Co., VAP Construction, 105.3 Coyote Country Radio and Fenoglio Boots. Over 30 other sponsors helped host the producer breakfast, which kicked off the expo on Wednesday morning, as well as the wine tasting and the beer garden.

Admission and parking were free.

Dale wanted his expos to have something for the whole family. Producers could find equipment and technology to help on the farm and ranch, and also find home improvements and home décor. Children enjoyed the puppies for sale at MJ Puppy Paws and the soft wool of the alpacas at River Valley Alpacas.

Most of the vendors have been at the McCook Expo all 10 years, such as Minnesota Pneumatic Products, whose wide array of shop tools could aid producers in their winter projects.

Rudy’s Tires was new to the Expo.

“We have eight locations, seven in Colorado and one in Big Springs, Nebraska,” said Terry Rutenbeck, sales representative.

“This is not too far out of our service area, and so we wanted to show producers what we could offer to keep them rolling.”

Other highlights of the McCook Farm and Ranch Expo included horse training demos both days by JD Wing.

McCook FFA was selling raffle tickets on donated toys and a donated fully restored Allis Chambers antique tractor. The FFA also had items members had made such as a welded horseshoe coat rack and crosses that were auctioned during the working ranch horse sale Wednesday evening that concluded the first day.

The expo concluded Thursday. Next year’s event will be Nov. 14 and 15, 2018.