By Andra Bryan Stefanoni
PITTSBURG, Kan. —
Chris Rogers, a rancher from Winfield, and his daughter, Gretchen Wacker, who runs the ranch, didn’t mind the three-hour drive to the Four State Farm Show early Friday morning.
They wanted to get an up-close look at several pieces of equipment they’re interested in purchasing.
“We came here to compare and look at a variety of products, including cattle chutes, small machinery, a trailer, stock tanks and a tree saw,” said Rogers, whose 1,600-acre ranch supports 150 head of cattle.
“It’s nice to see everything in one place, and you get a lot of good ideas.”
They soon found one item they were looking for under a tent manned by representatives of Sioux Steel, based in South Dakota.
“I’ve been looking for a cattle chute for three years, and I still haven’t found one I completely like,” Rogers said as he checked out the features of the Sioux Steel model.
Company representative Pat DeLange, who lives in Brazilton, showed off the chute’s no-corner tub, adjustable alley and a no-backing feature.
“Our chute is 60 years old and pretty well shot,” Rogers said. “The ones I have seen have many good features, but there are always things with them I don’t like. We’ll see about this one.”
On the other side of the show’s grounds, Webb City, Mo., resident Darrin Stowell kneeled under a gargantuan John Deere field sprayer to examine its components. He said being able to do so was the main draw of the show.
“I like to come to look at new technologies,” Stowell said. “It’s always nice if you’re in the market for something to be able to crawl around and see how it’s built.”
The sprayer would mean a $350,000 investment.
“We like to be able to see it up close,” said Stowell, who is the operations manager of JCB Farms just a few miles to the east.
Stan Hall, a Clinton, Mo.-based sales representative for Morton Buildings, said at least 1,500 people had come through his display Friday, if the number who registered for a contest was any indication.
“It’s a hands-on experience out here,” Hall said of the show. “You actually get to touch, feel and see things that you’re investing in. And things like this are a lifetime investment.”
Afternoon demonstrations give cattlemen and forage producers the chance to see a range of big round balers, mowers, rakes and other equipment operating under field conditions. A riding lawn mower test driving range was a busy place, giving even property owners of a few acres the chance to try before they buy.
Not all booths at the Farm Show are farm related, however. Longan’s Garden Center in Pittsburg has a display of potted patio plants, chimineas and garden decor, while Great Plains Flagpoles of Minnesota offers a unique telescoping flagpole design for homes or businesses.
And at Via Christi Hospital’s large booth near the entrance, employees offered sunscreen, tobacco cessation information, and how to spot tick-borne illnesses, among other things. Today, a dermatologist will offer sun cancer screenings there at no charge.
Longtime Pittsburg area food vendor Maggie Burlingame erected a full portable kitchen in order to serve vendors and visitors with food and cold drinks, and will be on site through Sunday.
The show runs again today from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. It is located south of Pittsburg. From the Junction of Highways 69 and 400, it is one-half mile east on Highway 171. Parking and admission are free.