Aksarben Stock Show opens 96th year
GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - Family is the theme of the 2023 Aksarben Stock Show in Grand Island, and nobody embodies that more than the new interim stock show manager Jacque Johnson.
Johnson is a Grand Island native, and a Northwest and UNL grad. She said she has exhibited stock shows her entire life, with four generations of her family having shown at Aksarben going back to when it was in Omaha.
She said she enjoyed her time showing livestock just as much as she does learning the management side of things, and the event has worked to bring her family together and build strong bonds.
“As far as showing livestock, my brother and I were out there putting in the same hours, working on the same animals, that just grew our bond as a family so much. My family is close in other aspects because we were able to grow up working together, and I’m blessed that I had the opportunity to work next to my brothers and work next to my mom and dad,” Johnson said
For another case of deep family ties, one needs to look no further than the Aksarben Marketplace. Among the vendors is a boutique called Two Sisters and a Barn. Co-founder Ralston Ripp is from Kearney and she said her family history with the show runs deep, even showing herself when she was younger.
“It actually is pretty unique, my family has attended the Aksarben Stock Show since it was back at the original Aksarben Stockyards in Omaha, Nebraska, and we have attended cattle ever since,” Ripp said. “My sister and I outgrew the age of showing and have kinda transitioned to being a vendor instead, and having a boutique to really help share our agriculture story.”
Keaton Irwin helps organize the event, and he said the vendors inside the marketplace come from all over to be at the show.
“It’s about as far-and-wide as our exhibitors are, some come from Wyoming, California, so we do have a great variety,” Irwin said. “Again, we have some straight from St. Libory.”
Aksarben is taking a active role in Junk Jaunt, and organizers said they encourage people to come and check out the Junk Jaunt and then stick around to watch some of the stock show. There is no attendance fee to watch any of this weekend’s event.
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