For beef lovers everywhere, an annual pilgrimage to Garden City, Kansas, should be mandatory. It is there that Beef Empire Days are held.
The event is 10 days of festivity and fealty paid to the beef industry. This year it will be held Friday, June 4 to Sunday, June 13.
“We are excited to be back,” said Kashly Van Petten, President of the Beef Empire Days Board of Directors. “2020 was a bad year, not being able to hold the celebration.”
This year’s schedule of events will contain all the same great attractions that have made Beef Empire Days enjoyable and entertaining over the last half-century.
“We didn’t add anything this year,” Van Petten said. “We are just re-establishing the staples.”
One major change is the ranch rodeo. This year’s rodeo is sponsored by Commerce Bank and will be the kickoff event Friday, June 4, at 7 p.m., and held at the Finney County Fairground. According to Van Petten, the ranch rodeo is one of the most popular events. It highlights the working ranch, she said.
Returning is the Beef, Beer & Boots experience. Sponsored by Downtown Vision and Western State Bank and located in Steven’s Park it is scheduled to start Saturday, June 5, at 5:30 p.m. It features food trucks offering signature beef dishes, a beer garden and live music. The event has grown in popularity in the few short years it has been part of the celebration, Van Petten said.
Beef, Beer & Boots is held in conjunction with the Grill Master Cook-off competition. Savory smells will abound in Steven’s Park from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Rocking M Radio and Klaus Pellets have structured a contest of about 20 cooking teams to vie for the title of Grill Master Champion.
“It is a fun, social atmosphere,” Van Petten said. “It continues to grow each year.”
Beginning at 9 a.m., Tuesday, June 8, is the centerpiece of Beef Empire Days. The Live Cattle Show – this year sponsored by Merck Animal – will be featured at the Finney County Fairgrounds. There will be both steer and heifer divisions.
“This is our foundation event. It is how we got started,” Van Petten said. “The Live Show is how we pay homage to the beef industry.”
The top 25 animals will be available for bid at the People’s Choice Auction held at the Clarion Inn Wednesday, June 9, at 8:30 p.m.
Also included over the 10-day gala will be a tennis tournament, a road run, a softball tournament and a parade, among other things. Van Petten said to keep checking their website, beefempiredays.com, for updates.
Beef Empire Days is run by an all-volunteer staff. They are still looking for volunteers, she said. They are still accepting sponsors and contestants in the events, as well.