A long standing tradition for students across the region returns to Norfolk Sunday.
The 70th annual Norfolk Beef Expo will be taking place at the Chuck Pohlman Ag Complex at Northeast Community College, bringing hundreds of hopeful exhibitors and families from as many as 30 counties.
The beef expo will feature a steer and heifer competition, where a grand and reserve champion will be crowned for each, as well as team fitting and showmanship competitions.
The show is organized by the Norfolk Area Chamber of Commerce Agri-Business Council.
The expo begins Saturday night with the team fitting competition and then goes all day Sunday, starting at 9 a.m. Division winners will be announced in the mid-afternoon and the grand and reserve champions will be crowned around 5 p.m.
The expo will end with a premium auction, where the champion animals will be sold. All other exhibitors are also able to sell at the auction.
Members of the public can not only bid on the animals, they can also contribute to the buyer’s pool, which is awarded to participants in the show.
Tony Schwartz, a member of the Agri-Business Council and senior vice president of Elkhorn Valley Bank & Trust, said the show is for most exhibitors the final show of the season and a culmination of their efforts.
“It’s typically the last show for those particular animals,” Schwartz said. “Afterward they (the exhibitors) will move on to a new animal or project for the next season.”
Although the deadline has passed for entries into the competition, all competitors are encouraged to apply for a $500 scholarship open to anyone participating.
Kurt Dostal, a member of the Chamber’s Agri-Business Council and business relationship manager for Wells Fargo, said the scholarship is available to students who plan to study in an ag-related field. The deadline for the scholarship is Oct. 14 and the winner is announced the following summer at the Chamber’s Ag Banquet.
This will be the 70th installment of the annual show. Originally held at the Norfolk Sale Barn, it has been at the Pohlman Ag Complex for many years now, Dostal said.
The key difference between the modern beef expo and past shows is that auctioned animals can no longer be directly purchased due to the change in venue.
With such a long history, many of the organizers have a personal connection to the show. Dostal said he competed at the show when he was in 4-H, and Schwartz said his children compete at the expo.
The number of competitors and sponsors of the show has waxed and waned over the years, but recently interest in the beef expo has been increasing, Dostal said. Last year there were 138 competitors from 30 counties, and while the total for this year hasn’t been finalized, it’s expected to be a similar amount.
Dostal also encouraged people to come and check out the event.
“It’s a good time for these kids and the families, but anyone can come and check it out,” he said.
Schwartz said the beef expo is an important event for Norfolk, as it brings many people to the city.
“There will be hundreds of families staying overnight, taking in restaurants and businesses,” Schwartz said. “It’s a chance to show off Norfolk and the college.”