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Farm Expo opens this week
Second-annual event bigger than last years
new deh farm expo dale and jan pic
Great Bend Farm and Ranch Expo Manager Darren Dale, left, and expo Chairperson Jan Westfall Thursday afternoon stand among the farm machinery that is already starting to arrive for the show which runs this coming Wednesday through Friday at the Great Bend Expo Complex. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

It was a bright, brisk early spring afternoon at the Great Bend Expo Complex Thursday. The concrete slabs outside the metal buildings were already dotted with agricultural equipment as vendors started to trickle in for the second-annual  Great Bend Farm and Ranch Expo.
The show is set for Wednesday through Friday at complex west of town, and organizers said it will be bigger and better than the inaugural event.
Show hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday. Admission and parking are free to the public.
The ribbon cutting for the expo will take place at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday in Expo 3.
“The show staff is excited about the new and exciting activities and seminars that are coming to the 2013 expo,” said Darren Dale, show promoter and manager. “It will be the premier livestock and outdoor farm equipment show in the High Plains.”
There is something for everyone, he said. “Come check it out for yourself.”
The expo includes over 700 booths filled with exhibitors from 27 states, Canada and Australia. The Great Bend Farm and Ranch Expo span over 80 acres, making it one of the largest farm shows in the region, Dale said.
The Kansas State University Extension Service women’s seminars are planned this year. These will take place at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. each day.
“Entertainment to the Max” with Max Reynolds will be at the show performing rope and bull whip tricks. For over 30 years Max has “wowed” audiences all over the world with specialty Wild West acts and rodeo stunts. “We are thrilled to present Max at the 2013 Great Bend Farm and Ranch Expo,” Dale said.
Of topical interest, the Barton County Young Professionals group will present a special program on the use of drone technology as it applies to crop surveillance, featuring Dr. Kevin Price of the KSU agronomy department. This will take place noon Wednesday.
Genex Cooperative Inc. will demonstrate chute-side service using portable breeding barns April 11. Chute-side service is a convenient and cost effective tool for large operations to improve their genetics and profitability through artificial insemination. Chute-side service includes synchronization and technician insemination, providing ranchers with access to the industry’s most sought after genetics.
Another exciting component of the Expo will be the sprayer demonstrations. This year will are adding combine demonstrations to that.
The demonstrations will be held everyday of the expo at 1 p.m. at the southeast corner of the south runway. The demonstrations will include the machines available.
The sprayers and combines will perform and demonstrate how each machine works, including application techniques in a live demo situation. Seating and audio will be provided. 
This year will feature a refreshment tent at the end of the south runway where attendees can sit down and rest for awhile, eat and enjoy a beverage. While there, they can listen to “the classic sounds of old time truck drivin’ music” with a modern flair from Jimbo Darville & the Truckadours.
“Great Bend is the ideal community for an agricultural show like this because of our deep roots in the farming and ranching industries,” said Jan Westfall, expo chairperson. “And, we have an eager, supporting volunteer base to make our exhibitors and farmers feel welcome.”
It takes about 300 volunteers to pull off the show, she said. These folks zone (make sure the exhibitors have what they need), assist with parking and perform other duties.
Westfall also thanked the businesses that allow their employees the time off to help with the show, and those who help sponsor the event. “We couldn’t do it without them.”
All this support impresses Dale. “My wife Tana and I are committed to Great Bend from many years to come,” he said.
The Great Bend Farm & Ranch Expo is a member of the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce. For more information, contact the show office at 866-685-0989, cell 785-332-6506, or by e-mail at and visit the website