U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran visited the Great Bend Farm and Ranch Show Friday morning and afternoon. He talked about the importance of agriculture and the importance of rural America.
Farming and small communities must be preserved and enhanced, he said. His farm show venue was the perfect example of this.
Now in its fifth year, the expo has continued to thrive since Darren Dale and the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce took over. But, both attribute that success to the swarm of volunteers who step up and make it happen.
A resident of Bird City, Dale and his Star Enterprises operate farm shows in McCook, Neb., and Wichita Falls, Texas. But, he has said again and again that the support he receives in Great Bend surpasses any he gets elsewhere.
Back in the spring of 2011, things looked dark for Great Bend. After decades of making a biennial visit to Barton County, 3i Show promoter Eddie Estes announced the long-running exhibition would cease alternating between Great Bend and Garden City. Instead, it would permanently stay in Estes’ hometown of Dodge City.
The 3i Show filled local hotels and restaurants and became a boom for local business people. This was a kick in the teeth, but city officials didn’t let it get them down.
This is where the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce and other dedicated residents stepped in to the picture. They cast about for a solution and found Bird City resident and long-time farm show promoter Dale.
An old hand at these sorts of things, Dale attracted about 700 exhibitors from around the United States and abroad for the three-day event that ended Friday. Now, instead of only coming every other year, the benefits of the farm show would come annually.
This newly formed partnership took a lemon and made lemonade.
The show attracts throngs farmers, ranchers and agribusiness people. However, others of us went out as well.
City folk would have learned a thing or two about this key industry. And, more importantly, they would see just how their community can come together and put the Great in Great Bend.