GOVERNOR'S CHARITY STEER SHOW

Scissors, clippers, hair dryers and Aqua Net are usually reserved for beauty salons, but on the first Saturday of the Iowa State Fair, they are used to bring beauty to the best bovines in the cattle barn.

Governor Kim Reynolds and Tyler Pudenz lead Jet out of the livestock barn during the parade to the Governor's Steer Show. Pudenz said she usually doesn't get nervous until she enters the ring before a show. Photo credit: Joseph L. Murphy, Iowa Soybean Association

Governor Kim Reynolds and Tyler Pudenz lead Jet out of the livestock barn during the parade to the Governor's Steer Show. Pudenz said she usually doesn't get nervous until she enters the ring before a show. Photo credit: Joseph L. Murphy, Iowa Soybean Association

For 36 years the Governor's Charity Steer Show has been a staple of the Fair allowing youth to show their projects in the ring with local celebrities, state officials and the Governor. The event is part pomp and circumstance and part friendly competition, but it is all for a great cause.

This year $294,000 was raised for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Iowa during a record-setting auction. The money raised benefits the Ronald McDonald Houses of Des Moines, Iowa City and Sioux City. All the houses are located near hospitals and provide a “home away from home” for families of seriously ill children being treated at the hospitals. The Iowa Beef Industry Council and the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association sponsors the annual steer show and auction, which was hosted by Gov. Kim Reynolds.

"I’m so proud of them (the youth showing at the event)," Reynolds said before the show. "They put a lot of work and dedication into raising these steers. Then they turn them over at auction to support an important cause like the Ronald McDonald House. It says a lot about the young people that are showing today."

Since its inception in 1983, the Governor’s Charity Steer Show has raised over $3.5 million for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Iowa.

This year's event featured 25 steers that were carefully cleaned, sculpted and manicured by the youth that raised them, family members and friends for their moment in the spotlight. Over 2,000 people filled the Pioneer Livestock Pavilion to watch as celebrities and youth paraded their steers around the ring while being judged in three categories: Judge’s Choice, People's Choice and Showmanship.

 

Tyler Pudenz, an incoming freshman at Gilbert High School, was lucky enough to show her steer, "Jet," with Reynolds.

"It's really exciting," she said about the opportunity. "We were at home when we got a call telling us that we were selected to be with the Governor."

She has been showing cattle in 4-H since she was in third grade. She said her favorite part of showing cattle was spending time with family and meeting others with the same interests.

"It’s a family event," Pudenz said while her father and others put the finishing touches on Jet before the show. "I’ve made a lot of friends over the years I’ve been showing."

Reynolds said the Governor's Charity Steer Show is one of the highlights for her during the Fair.

"I’m pretty competitive. I’ve won twice. So the Lt. Governor and I had to shake hands and part. This is a competition. So let the best steer win," Reynolds said with a laugh before entering the show ring.

Reynolds and Pudenz fell short of winning the show this year but both said they had a fun time.

"Chip," a steer sponsored by the Iowa County Beef Supporters, won the "Judge’s Choice" award this year. Tate Manahl was selected for the title of "People's Choice." Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig earned the Showmanship award.

Article originally published for the Iowa Food & Family Project. You can find out more about the Iowa Food & Family Project by clicking here.

Equipment sales are a mixed bag at the state fair

By Joseph L. Murphy

The Iowa State Fair had a record number of people visit but ag retailers weren’t seeing the same numbers in sales. Farm equipment sales were hit and miss this year according to several vendors and they place the blame on low commodity prices that are slowing sales of the new equipment.

Visitors to the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa look at a new John Deere tractor. New equipment sales have been sluggish in the face of a worsening farm economy. (Photo: Joseph L. Murphy)

Visitors to the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa look at a new John Deere tractor. New equipment sales have been sluggish in the face of a worsening farm economy. (Photo: Joseph L. Murphy)

 

“Sales have been considerably slower,” Tony Rockwell of Sully Farm Sales said. “We’ve had less traffic and people are slower to pull the trigger.”

Rockwell sells grain dryers, augers and other farm equipment near the Varied Industries Building on the fairgrounds. He attributes the slower traffic and sales to current grain prices.

“Our big seller during the fair is grain handling augers and portable augers and they still have time to buy the equipment before harvest so I’m optimistic the sales will come,” he said.

Gene Willis, an Ag Sales Territory Manager for Van Wall Equipment in Story City, says that only 15 to 20 percent of the traffic for the dealer is farmers.

“We’re trying to entice more than just the ag market. The farmer doesn’t come here to view equipment, they go to the two big ag shows,” Willis said.

According to Willis, that’s why they brought more compact utilities and lawn equipment to the fair and changed their exhibit to entice large yard and acreage owners.

“There are some people that are gun-shy to pull the trigger right now. But we still see a lot of interest, especially with the cattle people,” Cali Arnold, the office manager of EBY Trailers in Story City said.

Arnold added that they have customers that will trade every two years, regardless of the economy. But she said in most cases the customers they see this year are trading into something newer. She doesn’t see that changing much in the near future.

“There might be some hesitancy, and people might not be as aggressive as a year ago, but there still is a lot of interest and sales have been good,” Tom Olin with Stronghold manufacturing said.

He has noticed that fewer people are “Kicking the tires” and foot traffic through his display was less this year, but the people stopping and talking were serious about buying.

“We get a lot of traffic because we’ve been around, and people know us. We are celebrating our 50th year in Clarion, and we plan on selling great products for 50 more years,” Olin said.

Originally published for the Iowa Soybean Association. Find more great stories at: www.iasoybeans.com/news