Cattlemen Honored as Friends of the Beef Expo
The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association would like to express its sincerest thanks to all of the volunteers who have been involved in this annual industry event.
Each year, dedicated volunteers spend countless hours ensuring the success of the Ohio Beef Expo. In an effort to show the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association’s sincere appreciation for those who have dedicated themselves over the years, the Ohio Beef Expo Planning Committee presents the Friend of the Expo award to three worthy recipients who like many others have contributed to the success of the past 26 years of Expo.
Doug Conkle portrays the true meaning behind the Friend of the Expo award. Doug is part of the maintenance crew at the Ohio Expo Center, where the Ohio Beef Expo takes place. Doug’s hard work and knowledge of the Expo have proved to be an asset to staff and volunteers. Without Doug’s help and motivation the Expo would not be what it is today.
“It’s really not a stretch to say that the Ohio Beef Expo might not take place without Doug Conkle’s involvement,” says Elizabeth Harsh, OCA Executive Director.
Doug was originally born on a dairy farm; however, when he was two years old his parents decided to sell the farm and move to Columbus. Even though Doug’s background may not be agriculture he has developed a long standing appreciation for the livestock industry and more importantly the people. “That seemed to be my niche. I fell in love with it,” Doug says.
Doug started working as part of the maintenance staff in 1996. He says that the show has really taken off since then and that it has been a good fit for him to help work it. He recalls that it has become a lot easier than it used to be in the past. “We’re just a good fit,” Doug says as he talked about working with the Beef Expo staff. “Their staff is excellent. You just can’t beat their staff.”
Elizabeth says Doug is one of they key staff members at the Ohio Expo Center that OCA staff and volunteers look forward to working with.
“Doug always meets you with a smile, an energetic pace and a “can do” attitude when it comes to facilities set-up at the Expo Center.”
It certainly doesn’t take long to recognize Johnny Regula’s passion for Ohio’s cattle industry, which began while showing cattle in Shelby County 4-H. While furthering his education at Ohio State University he worked at the beef barn and after college he started his own cattle herd. He now owns and operates an auctioneer and mulch business, in Ostrander, Ohio.
Johnny has always been a strong supporter of the Ohio Beef Expo. He was asked to be on the first Expo committee in 1988, and it was from there that he became an instant leader. Johnny’s auctioneer and mulch business has supplied bedding for the Expo for 25 years, this being the 26th. In the beginning they originally used straw. However, it didn’t take them long to figure out that mulch was a better alternative. “It’s not so much about what it looked like or smells like. It’s about the footing,” Johnny says.
Johnny says it’s not about what he does for the Expo, but more about what the Expo does for others. “What makes the Expo a fantastic event is not only the livestock, but it’s the people. Anybody that’s been there will tell you the same thing” Johnny stated.
To Johnny, the trade show is equally as important as the livestock portion. Johnny claims, “It’s very hard to put on a livestock show that’s self supporting. You have to have another venue and that’s what the beauty of the beef Expo is, the fact that we have a tradeshow that helps support the live animals that are there.”
The Expo is something that Johnny takes pride in. However, he does make it clear that he has been blessed with this opportunity to help with such a prestigious event. “It’s really been my honor and pleasure to be a part of the Expo for as long as they’ve allowed me too,” says Johnny. “The Beef Expo, as far as I’m concerned, is the cattle event of the year for Ohio.”
Grilling approximately 500 hamburgers for the judging contestants is not an easy task, especially when hauling an eight foot grill. However, Wood County Cattlemen’s Association is more than willing to lend a helping hand at the Ohio Beef Expo.
Wood County’s outstanding character is portrayed with their contribution to the Expo. The organization donates their time, grill and charcoal to ensure contestants receive a quality meal during the judging contest. “At about 11 or 11:30 a.m., the smell of the burgers is lofting through every aspect of the Expo and people start walking up wanting to buy the burgers,” says Michelle Kranz-VanVorhis, Wood County Cattlemen’s Association president. “If I had a nickel for every time I said ‘no, those are for the judging contest kids. We don’t sell them’ I’d be a very rich woman.” In fact there were so many people coming up trying to buy burgers that they had to start putting signs up to remind people that they were not for sale. Michelle gives credit to Dave Eschedor, the grill master for making the food.
Grilling the hamburgers does not only make bystanders hungry, but it also attracts the attention of curious people who want to check out the massive eight-foot grill. Michelle talks about bystanders making remarks about being able to build one similar to it.
“Wood County beef producers have taken the initiative over the past several years to play a vital role in the success of the youth judging contest,” says Sam Sutherly, Ohio Cattlemen’s Association President.
“It is greatly appreciated that a county organization puts forth such effort to support the youth of our industry. It is my pleasure to thank Wood County and its members for contributing a helping hand in making the Ohio Beef Expo a premiere event.”
Wood County has always had strong support while grilling. Most of the people that help are family members of kids that are in the judging contest. When talking about the families that help out, Michelle summed up the atmosphere of the Expo in saying, “There’s a sense of community that goes along with the Expo.”
Past Friend of the Ohio Beef Expo Award Winners
2002: Dave Dailey, Don Lowry, Henry Bergfeld and Jim Rentz
2003: Leslie Milleson and Rod Bauer
2004: Virgil Strickler, Jim Sutherly and Gene Rowe
2005: Tim Sheeley and Dr. Glen Hoffsis
2006: Dean Armstrong and Earl Foreman
2007: Joyce McKee, Jim & Jackie Murray and Curt Hively
2008: Jim & Marlene Campbell and Dr. Earl & Cynthia Arnholt
2009: Keith Moore and Tom Wilcox
2010: Sam Roberts and Laura Sutherly
2011: Alan Halderman and Rex Sullinger
2012: Gale Long, Dave Puthoff and Steve R. Rauch