Randy Bogden remembers helping his dad deliver carcasses to the first 4-H and FFA meats judging contest, held during the MAGIE in the late 1970s. Bogden was only in grade school at the time, so little did he know he would become an integral part of the contest for years to come.
Bogden began competing in the meats judging contest in 1985 as a freshman in high school. Bogden’s father owned and operated Mickey’s Packing Plant in Great Falls at the time, so as the son of a processor, he was set to be a natural standout in the event. In 1988, Bogden advanced to the National FFA convention in Kansas City, Mo., competing in meats judging.
In 1989, Bogden became a Montana State FFA Officer, serving as Parliamentarian. As a young adult now, Bogden continued to be deeply involved in FFA. He was a State Star in Agri-Business and even a Proficiency Award winner. In 1992, Bogden received his American FFA Degree and was the Regional Stars Over America winner, besting all other FFA Star candidates in the western region.
With college over, Bogden found himself back home in the Great Falls area and it was only fitting for him to find his niche, helping judge the 4-H and FFA meats and livestock judging events at the MAGIE.
“I helped out as a judge for the contests beginning in the early 1990s. I continued to do that for 15 or 20 years until I took the reins and began running the meats contest in 2005,” Bogden said.
Also, in the early 1990s the MAGIE meats contest became the Montana FFA State contest, meaning the winners of the event qualified to compete at the National FFA Convention, now held in Indianapolis, Ind. Bogden proudly ran the meats contest until 2019 when a career change opened up new doors.
“I started with Farm Bureau Insurance in 2006. An opportunity came up, and after 13 years it was time to make a change, so I became the ag voice for 560 KMON,” Bogden stated.
Becoming a radio disc jockey was only natural for Bogden. He had been a sports broadcaster on the side for some time and his outgoing personality, coupled with his agriculture and FFA background, made him perfect for the job.
“Growing up on a ranch outside of Great Falls, I’ve come to know near everyone in Montana agriculture,” Bogden says with a laugh.
And he is not wrong. Montana’s ag community is often described as a small town with one very long main street. Given that analogy, Bogden could be described as the friendly neighborhood greeter.
In his current position with 560 KMON, Bogden arrives at the Great Falls station every morning before 4:30 a.m. After starting a pot of coffee, he gets to work scanning the internet for news and agriculture headlines. Once he has compiled his talking points for the morning, Bogden is live on the air from 6-9 a.m.
Part of Bogden’s job also includes helping KMON produce the MAGIE, which will run Jan. 16-18, 2020. In particular, at the tradeshow, Bogden will be busy conducting on-air interviews with the day’s sponsors, as well as various vendors and exhibitors.
“When MAGIE comes its 110 miles an hour for us for a week,” Bogden said.
Don’t for one minute think Bogden has gotten too busy now to help with the meats judging contest at the MAGIE.
“I think I’m actually busier now with the MAGIE 4-H and FFA contests. I used to be the contact for one event, now I am the contact for all the contests,” Bogden happily says.
MAGIE contests include meats, agronomy and livestock judging. All contests will take place on Saturday, Jan. 18, and are open to both 4-H and FFA youth.
Bogden’s support of Montana FFA and the MAGIE meats contest is truly a testament of his dedication and faith in the future of Montana agriculture. In 2019, Bogden was awarded the Honorary American FFA Degree in recognition for his unyielding support of Montana FFA. After 40 plus years of being involved with the MAGIE meats contest, the honor was well deserved.