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A crowd of approximately 550 people were present at the Ringgold County Fairgrounds Commercial Building on Saturday, January 28th for the 2023 Ringgold County Cattlemen’s (RCC) Association Annual Banquet.
The event brought together people from all walks of life throughout the county and state. While the RCC is most commonly associated with the beef production industry, the event also highlighted the contributions the association has made to the county and state as a whole.
As member Steve Knapp stated, “This is what Ringgold County is all about. Take a look at the crowd, while most here are not specifically raising cattle, I estimate at least 90 percent of the folks here are affected by the industry in some way. If they aren’t providing some type of support to the cattlemen, they are benefiting from the association’s investment and volunteer work in the community. This is a chance for everyone to come together, appreciate who we are as a county, and an opportunity to show our thanks to the people for their support. All money raised tonight goes directly to improving and supporting Ringgold County”.
After the prime rib meal was served, the evening began with an invocation by Jim Werner and special prayers for the Copper family. After a welcome by Shane Bishop, Keelyn Triggs presented the recognition of the 2022 Beef Queen, Jillian Kniep, and the introduction of 2023 Beef Queen, Kyleigh Conklin. The Producer of the Year Award was presented to Jim and Ann Werner by Ryan Bailey.
A major accomplishment announced was the Ringgold County Cattlemen’s First Place Award in the 2022 Iowa Cattlemen’s Association (ICA) Membership Drive, meaning they obtained the most new members in the entire state. This award, along with an outstanding 2022 Annual Banquet, landed them a story in the ICA magazine, which highlighted their growth and success.
The Year in Review presentation showcased the organization’s numerous contributions. The RCC has given out $5,500 in scholarships for local youth. The breakdown of the 2022 Scholarships include: $1,000 Heifer Scholarships presented to Lillie Curry and Burk Willis. Cattlemen’s Class Scholarships went to first place, Kenleigh Fooken for $500, and a second-place tie between Kade Dugan and Riley Jones, $250 each. Four $500 Senior scholarships were awarded to Kerrigan Mobley, Raines Sackett, Adler Shay, and Brady Bickel.
In addition to the scholarships, throughout May Beef Month the RCC donated $1,800 in Beef Certificates to every restaurant and grocery store in the county, provided Beef Meal Certificates to Still Smokin’ to give customers cooked over 500 hamburgers for the Diagonal and Mt. Ayr Elementary and High School, and donated a whole beef to the Ringgold County Food Banks. The RCC Grill Team (Cauy Bickel, Clay Conklin, Clint Werner, Craig Winemiller, Russell Holmes, and Tucker Winemiller) served over 4,500 pounds of beef at forty charitable and county special events in 2022.
Beyond just providing beef for the community, the association also held a Facebook photo contest during May Beef Month and donated RCC apparel for the winners, sponsored the Mount Ayr FFA Chapter’s lunch at the State FFA Convention, and volunteered 23 members to work the 2022 Iowa State Fair Beef Quarters. The RCC also made numerous monetary donations throughout the year to various community events.
Towards the end of the presentation, the Ringgold County Cattlemen’s, in joint partnership with the Ringgold County Fair Board, gave thanks to all donors who contributed to the continual renovation on the Ringgold County Fairgrounds Commercial Building, which will be a large focus for their organization in the upcoming years. The association extended a special recognition to the $5,000+ donors which included First Interstate Bank ($25,000), Doug and Darla Sobotka ($20,000), United Farmers Cooperative ($10,000), the Trout family ($10,000), West Plumbing and Heating ($10,000), PCSB Bank ($8,000), Iowa State Savings Bank ($6,500), City State Bank ($5,000), Dr. Keith and Jamie Miller ($5,000), and the Diagonal Lions Club ($5,000).
A Lifetime Dedication Recognition was presented to Dr. Keith and Jamie Miller for their long-standing support for the Ringgold County Fair and the community.
The evening finished with a Silent and Live Auction, games for the crowd, as well as numerous raffles, with proceeds going directly to county betterment.