Our Mission

The Beef Empire Days Board of Directors are lead by 13 board members and 4 ex-officio members.

Throughout the years, the original goals have remained, including: advancement in the production and quality of beef, improvement of communications and continued education and promotion of beef. These are the goals that guide the board of directors and the many vounteers who work diligently to organize the events that make up Beef Empire Days.

This year there are nearly 30 events geared to the cattle feeding industry, the arts and humanities, and the athletes of the High Plains area. Each of these events is made possible by a dedicated chairman or chairwoman and one or more financial sponsors.

This celebration also could not happen without the hundreds of dedicated volunteers who come together each and every year to organize, promote and host the fabulous events that make up the Beef Empire Days celebration. If you have an interest in a particular event or are interested in becoming a Beef Empire Days volunteer please contact the event coordinator of the Beef Empire Days office.There are over 190 financial partners who act as sponsors of every aspect of Beef Empire Days. Without the contributions of the many local and national sponsors the celebration could not survive. We always welcome new sponsors and would be happy to visit with you in more detail about the multitude of sponsorship opportunities.The impact that the beef industry has had on Southwest Kansas and the entire High Plains area is substantial and we are extremely gratified to be involved in such an important part of agriculture and the area.

Beef Empire Days, Inc. was formed in 1967 to promote and educate people on the merits of beef and the cattle feeding industry. There are twelve voting board members and two ex-officio board members. Four members are elected or re-elected annually. These volunteers are selected from the ranks of the sponsors and they meet monthly to plan and direct the annual celebration.


"Beef Empire Days is such an enjoyable event...

I like that there is something for everyone, and a lot of it is free. It is also nice that the events are held over a period of several days, so you don’t feel rushed from one thing to another.”

— Patti Strauss, Garden City, KS


Our History


  • 1968 John Dohogne develops idea for a celebration of the Beef Empire, gathering financial and participation support from 13 commercial feed yards to begin the celebration.

  • 1969 Show Chairman—John Dohogne

    • Show Judges—Don Good, Head of Animal Science & Industry at Kansas State University Harold Tuma, Head of Meats Sciences Department at Kansas State University

    • Show Committee—Al Maddox, Jerry Huggins & Gene Francis

    • Original Contributors—Beef Industry Service, Brookover Feed Yard, Inc., Crossland Brothers, Inc. Farmland Industries, Farr Better Feeds, Fidelity State Bank, Garden City Auto Association, Garden City COOP, Garden National Bank, Hi Plains, Inc., Ingalls Feed Yard, Inc., Kansas Livestock Association, KIUL—Garden City Telegram, Morris Feedlot, Oswalts, Production Credit Association, Heinold Rufenacht, Sand Hills Feedlot, Seward County Feedlot, Sublette Feeders, Western Cattle Company.

    • 70 Steers entered.

    • Champion steer owned by Hugh Andrews and fed at Morris Feedlot in Garden City.

    • Show was held in Stevens Park—including the carcass show! A refrigerated truck was brought to the park and the winning carcasses displayed there.

  • 1969 show was also the site of the National Beef Cookout Contest. Lawrence Odgers of Garden City won the first year with his “Finial Beef Kabob.”

    • Education has always been a key component of the celebration. 1969 included a Feeders Day at the KSU Research Experiment Station.

  • 1970 Several events were added including: commercial exhibits, cowboy dance, truck driver’s rodeo and a jack pot roping. The show was extended to four days.

    • The parade is added to the celebration. Charlie Sinclair announced the first parade. Barbara Oringderff joined Sinclair in 1971 to announce the parade. She has announced nearly every parade since 1971. Hap Larson followed Sinclair as Co-announcer and in 2000 Storm Dennison joined Oringderff as Co-announcer.

  • 1974 The Professional Western Art Show added. Well-known western artists including Gerald Farm, New Mexico; Laurence Coffelt, Emporia; Charlie Norton, Leoti and Jay O’Mealie, Tulsa, exhibited their works at the show. Early Shows were held at the Garden City COOP Center

    • Festival of Hot Air Balloons also was added. The balloons appeared at various events with exhibitions and races.

    • Two-day RCA Rodeo held in conjunction with feedlot team roping contests.

    • The Beef Empire Days celebration becomes a non-profit corporation in 1974 with Earl Meairs elected as the first President and Earl C. Brookover as the Honorary lifetime Director.

  • 1975 Grandstand Judging Contest added.

    • Tractor Pull also added to the celebration. One of the many events that would come and go during the history of Beef Empire Days.

    • The cookout contest grows to include a team competition entitled “Chuckwagons in the Park."

  • 1976 Golf Tournament at Buffalo Dunes, Cutting Horse Contest and a Horseshow Pitching Contest are new events in 1976.

    • The Beef Empire Classic makes its first appearance. Held in November, the football game pitted a team from Kansas against a team from Oklahoma, Texas or Iowa.

  • 1977 Beef Empire Days becomes a five day event and sees the election of the first female president, Mary M. Hopkins.

    • The Cookout Contest evolves into two simultaneous events. The Chuckwagon Cookout, with the purpose of promoting beef by giving beef samples to park visitors, and the National Beef Cookout Contest.

  • 1978 The KLA/BED Social Hour, Stag and Ladies Banquet and a dance becomes a part of Beef Empire Days. Scheduled for Saturday night at the new Garden City Hilton Inn (now the Plaza Hotel.) Everyone joined together for the social hour, then separated into two banquets—one for stags, the other for ladies, before rejoining for a dance featuring Newton Graber and the Swing Band.

  • 1979 A road race is added. Called the “Beef Marathon,” the event featured a lap around Garden City, finishing at Stevens Park.

  • 1982 Tennis Classic, Team Penning and the Southwind Golf Tournament are added.

  • 1983 The first belt buckle is offered. The design in 1983 featured the Beef Empire Days logo, a sunrise and a steer. This began a ten year series of limited edition, numbered buckles. In 1994, an artistic, un-numbered buckle was offered and in 1998, a newly designed, numbered buckle was offered to commemorate the 30th anniversary.

  • 1984 The Beef Empire Steer Trial (B.E.S.T.) joins Beef Empire Days as an event. Chairman Jim Norwood coordinated the delivery of 54 steers to Brookover Feed Yard in Garden City. Two divisions of the annual contest—rate of gain on cattle and carcass cutability—were established with the contest concluding in early August after the final weights are taken and the carcasses are evaluated.

    • Softball Tournament and Sand Drags Unlimited are two new events for 1984.

  • 1985 In an effort to involve and recognize the hands-on employees of area feed yards, the Cattle Working Contest was added in 1985. The event took place at the fairgrounds at the conclusion of the live show and featured three person teams or two people and one dog teams.

    • This year the rodeo returned with Friday and Saturday performances.

  • 1986 After the passing of Earl C. Brookover in late 1985, the Brookover Memorial Award is unveiled at the Saturday evening Awards Banquet. The Charlie Norton Bronze in the beautiful oak case proves to be a very sought after feed yard award that is still awarded today.

    • 4-H or FFA members are encouraged to get involved with the first ever Prospect Steer Show.

  • 1987 The public had been asking for street dances for years, and in 1987 they were offered twice! Stevens Park was fenced off and became the home of these Friday and Saturday evening events.

    • A talent show, a bike race and free movies with a button were all new attractions at the 20th Anniversary event.

  • 1988 The Buckaroo Wrangler Roundup, the Budweiser Wrist Wrestling, a Cowboy Poetry Gathering and a pancake feed are some of the new events added in 1990.

  • 1990 All receptions, dinners and the Professional Western Art Show are held at the Finney County Fairgrounds Buildings.

    • Beef Empire Days celebrates 25 years with the unveiling of a special, limited edition Charlie Norton bronze entitled “Reaching Out.” The celebration also encompasses 2 weekends and 8 total days for the first time.

  • 1993 The Beef ‘N Blues concert is a new event in 1993.

    • The five regional beef packing plants are recognized for the contribution to the industry and Beef Empire Days. The plants include Excel, HyPlains Beef, L.C., IBP, Inc., Monfort and National Beef Packers, Inc.

  • 1994 The Budweiser Clydesdales are featured at the 1994 celebration.

  • 1996 Beef Empire Days is the first major event to be held in the new Finney County Fairgrounds Grandstands.

  • 1998 Beef Empire Days hires their first-ever full-time director to coordinate the celebration and work year-round on beef promotion.

    • Connie Johnson creates a 30th Anniversary painting depicting all facets of the cattle feeding industry including three generations of cattlemen, a feed yard, a packing plant and the sand hills.

  • 2000 Beef Empire Days is on the world wide web at www.beefempiredays.com.

  • 2005 The Beef Empire Days Cattle Crawl makes its debut in 2005. The event is modeled after the Wichita and Kansas City Beef Council coordinated events and brings the tastes and ideas of the city to Beef Empire Days. The events have been a sell-out each year since 2005 and provide the opportunity for 100 diners to experience special beef meals prepared at area restaurants.

  • 2007 The first-ever Ranch Rodeo event is added for area feed yards and cattlemen. 11 teams participate for more that $4000 in prize money.

  • 2012 The Feeders Cattle Challenge was started with 6 head of cattle playing for almost $19,000.00 with an entry fee of $6000.00

  • 2013 Public Pick 5—“Can you beat the judge?” Each person will pick five head during the live steer show that they believe will be the top placers in the Beef Empire Days index during the carcass show. The total of the Beef Empire Days index of your five head will determine the winners.

    • Come try your skill at cooking 3 different beef cuts in the new Tyson Battle of the Beef BBQ Challenge .

    • The ordinary ranch hand trying his skill of his horse in the new Alltech MRHA Ranch Horse Competition.

    • THROUGH the years Headlining acts have included: The Bellamy Brothers, Louise Mandrell, Johnny Ray Gomez Revue, Gunilla Hutton, Tommy Overstreet, Danny Davis and the Nashville Brass and Dave Frizell.

 Although Beef Empire Days has always featured the Live and Carcass Show, an educational event and a “Chuckwagon” style event, many other events have come and gone based on the current trends, fads and public demands. Some of those events include: square dances, drag races, movies, treasure hunts, pancake feeds, skate board contests, tractor pulls, bike races, prospect steer shows , ice scream socials, air shows, country and cowboy church and stock dog demonstrations.

 From the original 21 sponsors and four committee members the event has grown to include more than 240 financial sponsors and nearly 50 committee members and Board of Directors members.