Steve Gunn, Greensburg, and Bob Bishop, Leesburg, aren't walking away from the Hoosier Beef Congress. They're just stepping down to let new leadership chart the course into the next 25 years of this unbelievably and unique event. Meanwhile, they'll still be around to lend a helping hand.
The meant taking their positions are no strangers to the cattle business, the Indiana Beef Cattle Association, or working with youth. Steve Gunn will turn the reins of leadership of the committee over to Rick Seehase, Logansport. Bob Bishop retires as junior show manager, and lets Barry Wesner, Chalmers, take the reins.
The even has grown from an idea in someone's head to a premier show, but only with a lot of hard work and dedication. "When we started, we had about 600 head the first year," Gunn says. "That was a good start."
Turning the West Pavilion of the Indiana State Fairgrounds, also known as the cattle barn, into a winter wonderland for a premier beef show is no easy task, and was even tougher in the early days. "We can't say enough about what the state fair has done to help us," Gunn says.
"The facilities are so much better here today," Bishop adds. "Those first few years before the horse barn was remodeled, some people got awfully cold out there stalled with their cattle. We soon had more than would fit in this building."
In the beginning, the committee members worked to create four shows rings and sale rings themselves. That involves moving some 20 or more truckloads of mulch, installing fences and decorating for the show. Bishop hit upon the idea of asking FFA chapters to help do those jobs in exchange for a donation for the chapter. For the past four years, the Franklin FFA has helped form the rings, decorate, weigh cattle, and do whatever is needed behind the scenes to make the show go smoothly.
A new feature illustrates just how much emphasis the show industry places on the show. For the second year, an on-line auction was held for 20 premium stall spaces at the show over the weekend. The first two spots brought $550 and $600, respectively.
"We give that money to charity," Gunn says. This year, the money will be donated to Gleaner's Food Bank.