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Burwell Rodeo photo wins ‘This is Nebraska’Burwell Rodeo photo wins ‘This is Nebraska’

Photo depicting the singing of the national anthem at the Burwell rodeo won open photography contest at the Nebraska State Fair.

Curt Arens

October 9, 2023

1 Min Read
2023 this is nebraska photo winner
SHOWING RESPECT: This winning photo was taken during the singing of the national anthem at the July 26 performance of the Burwell Rodeo.Sue Hornickel

Sue Hornickel farms with her husband, Steve, and their family in southern Valley County near Ord, Neb. At this year’s Nebraska State Fair, she took first place in open-class photography in the “This Is Nebraska” contest with a photo depicting the singing of the national anthem July 26 at Nebraska’s Big Rodeo in Burwell.

It is a long tradition that the winning photo from this class is published in Nebraska Farmer, and Hornickel’s photo, titled “Respect,” captured rodeo visitors showing homage shown to the flag and country during each rodeo before a performance.

According to the state fair entry book, this class in the photography contest is for color prints that depict, promote or exemplify Nebraska, its people, its lifestyle or its environs as a great place to live or visit.

“I feel this photo represents the values of Nebraska,” Hornickel says, “and I’m proud to be a part of that.” She notes that she and Steve enjoy attending the rodeo in Burwell because it falls near their wedding anniversary on July 30. They celebrated their 35th anniversary in 2023.

“This year, one of our granddaughters tried for Little Miss Burwell Rodeo, and the crowning was held the same evening I took the photo. She was runner-up,” Hornickel says.

Hornickel was not the only celebrated amateur photographer in the area where she lives, known as Mira Valley. Robyn Koelling, a fellow farmer and Mira Valley resident, won the advanced amateur division in the state fair photography contest. Also, Hornickel’s daughter, Trysten, won the overall amateur division.

Hornickel shot her winning “This Is Nebraska” photo with her Nikon D7200 camera, using a 70-300 mm lens.

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State Fair

About the Author(s)

Curt Arens

Editor, Nebraska Farmer

Curt Arens began writing about Nebraska’s farm families when he was in high school. Before joining Farm Progress as a field editor in April 2010, he had worked as a freelance farm writer for 27 years, first for newspapers and then for farm magazines, including Nebraska Farmer.

His real full-time career, however, during that same period was farming his family’s fourth generation land in northeast Nebraska. He also operated his Christmas tree farm and grew black oil sunflowers for wild birdseed. Curt continues to raise corn, soybeans and alfalfa and runs a cow-calf herd.

Curt and his wife Donna have four children, Lauren, Taylor, Zachary and Benjamin. They are active in their church and St. Rose School in Crofton, where Donna teaches and their children attend classes.

Previously, the 1986 University of Nebraska animal science graduate wrote a weekly rural life column, developed a farm radio program and wrote books about farm direct marketing and farmers markets. He received media honors from the Nebraska Forest Service, Center for Rural Affairs and Northeast Nebraska Experimental Farm Association.

He wrote about the spiritual side of farming in his 2008 book, “Down to Earth: Celebrating a Blessed Life on the Land,” garnering a Catholic Press Association award.

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