Bringing the community together, Crawford Cattle Call fosters sense of ag and community spirit
Crawford, Neb. – In 2014, the Crawford Cattle Call was born. The one-day event is held in the streets of downtown Crawford, Neb. on the first Saturday of November every year with the goal of celebrating agriculture, bringing the community together and showcasing local businesses in the area.
“About two years after I moved back to Crawford from Gillette, my husband and I bought the grocery store in town,” says Sam Dyer. “I also got involved with the Chamber of Commerce, and we decided to incorporate some new events in our community.”
Dyer used the Valentine, Neb. Bull Bash and Northern International Livestock Exposition bred heifer pen of three show as inspiration to develop the Crawford Cattle Call.
“In 2014, we held our first Crawford Cattle Call, which started with a bred heifer show,” Dyer explains. “We also offered the chance for ranchers to bring their herd bulls in to display.”
Cattle pens were set up along Main Street in Crawford, and in their first year, 17 pens of cattle were showcased. The second year, they added a heifer event and set up 28 pens of cattle. In their third year, with the addition of bulls, 42 pens of cattle lined Main Street.
“In our fourth year, we were down a little bit to 38 pens, but it was a great contest,” she says. “Ultimately, we want to have a pen of three contest between the heifer calves, bred heifers and bulls and offer ranchers the chance to bring their display bulls in, too.”
In addition to the cattle show, Crawford Cattle Call brings events for the whole family.
“Early in our planning, we decided to add something new every year,” Dyer comments. “If we did the same thing every year, we knew people would get bored and stop coming, so we try to keep the event fresh each year.”
In 2016, they added a beef cook-off, and over the past several years, Crawford Cattle Call has held a hay bale decorating contest, barnyard bingo and more. Nearby Fort Robinson brings their stagecoach and gives free stagecoach rides to attendees, and Dyer notes everyone is excited to help.
New this year, Crawford Cattle Call hosted a 5K run, as well.
“For a lot of our events, we try to involve other community groups, too,” she comments. “PEO wanted to do the 5K, and Farm Bureau does the hay bale decorating contest. Friends of Pets put on a penny carnival, and the church puts up a bouncy house for the kids.”
“We’re always looking for groups who want to take on an aspect of the event,” Dyer says.
Activities for the children also allow adults to gather while their kids are playing.
Until 2017, Dyer says they have been blessed with good weather.
“This year, it got really cold, so the bars and restaurants were packed,” she says, noting that the community businesses also see additional sales that day.
The Cattle Call hosts a variety of vendors in 40-foot-by-20-foot tents.
“We bring a huge number of commercial vendors and ag vendors,” she says. “We’ve had several dealers who brought tractors, and we had a big tent full of vendor exhibits.”
The event is beneficial for the ag industry, as well.
Dyer adds, “It also allows people to see our cattle.”
A number of Wyoming cattle producers also participate in the event, she says.
“We have a lot of interest in this event,” Dyer comments. “We keep seeing more interest from further away. It’s exciting.”
“We have probably 400 to 500 people attend each year,” Dyer says.
The Harrison FFA Chapter and the Dawes County 4-H Junior leaders are also instrumental in the event.
“If we didn’t have the FFA students and the junior leaders, I’m not sure we would get all set up,” she adds. “We have to put up panels, and we spread chips, as well. It takes a community to put it together.”
“We want to showcase agriculture and specifically the ranchers in the area, but we also want to benefit the business of downtown Crawford,” Dyer comments. “Next year, the Crawford Cattle Call will continue into its fifth year. This is always a really fun event.”
Saige Albert is managing editor for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.