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February 9, 2024
Every February, for 50 years, collegiate rodeo cowboys and cowgirls from around the nation gathered in Manhattan, Kan., to compete in the K-State Rodeo in Weber Arena.
But the 2024 rodeo will mark the last time rodeo stock will see action on the dirt in Weber Arena.
Next spring, Kansas State University is scheduled to break ground on the Global Center for Grain and Food Innovation, which will connect Weber and Call halls, where the current arena sits. The new center will also require renovations in Weber Hall, which houses much of the university’s animal sciences program.
In place of the Weber Arena facility, K-State broke ground Dec. 15 on the new Bilbrey Family Event Center, home of the Tee Jay Quarter Horses Walker Family indoor arena.
The new facility, located on the hill next to the Stanley Stout Center on the north side of the Manhattan campus, will host livestock competitions, large events and the K-State Rodeo. The project, according to K-State, will be completed by August 2025.
The 2024 K-State Rodeo is set for Feb. 15-18. Tickets for the rodeo will be available by presale only, at five ticket locations in Manhattan: Call Hall Dairy Bar; YeeHaw Outfitters; Outpost Western Store; Bomgaars; and Tractor Supply Co.
R bar B in Topeka and Tractor Supply in Junction City will also be preselling tickets.
Feb. 15 will be a special night set aside for students and alumni, with admission for students and alumni set for $10, and for all other adults $15. The Feb. 16 rodeo is slated to be the Cancer Awareness Pink Night, with attendees encouraged to wear pink in support. The Feb. 17 rodeo will be the Pack Weber with Purple Night, with everyone encouraged to wear their purple pride. The Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening performances start at 7:30 p.m.
On Feb. 17, don’t miss the Special Needs Rodeo starting at noon, and stay for the Kids Day Rodeo at 1 p.m., where children ages 12 and younger can get in free with the donation of one canned good and a ticketed adult. There’s also an Alumni and Friends Reunion set for 4 to 6 p.m. at the Blue Hills Room next to RC McGraw’s in Manhattan.
The Feb. 18 final performance will be at 1 p.m., and it will be the Fort Riley Military Appreciation Day.
Find more information at kstaterodeoclub.com.
Editor, Kansas Farmer
Through all her travels, Jennifer M. Latzke knows that there is no place like Kansas.
Jennifer grew up on her family’s multigenerational registered Angus seedstock ranch and diversified farm just north of Woodbine, Kan., about 30 minutes south of Junction City on the edge of the Kansas Flint Hills. Rock Springs Ranch State 4-H Center was in her family’s backyard.
While at Kansas State University, Jennifer was a member of the Sigma Kappa Sorority and a national officer for the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow. She graduated in May 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications and a minor in animal science. In August 2000 Jennifer started her 20-year agricultural writing career in Dodge City, Kan., on the far southwest corner of the state.
She’s traveled across the U.S. writing on wheat, sorghum, corn, cotton, dairy and beef stories as well as breaking news and policy at the local, state and national levels. Latzke has traveled across Mexico and South America with the U.S. Wheat Associates and toured Vietnam as a member of KARL Class X. She’s traveled to Argentina as one of 10 IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders in Agricultural Journalism. And she was part of a delegation of AAEA: The Ag Communicators Network members invited to Cuba.
Jennifer’s an award-winning writer, columnist, and podcaster, recognized by the Kansas Professional Communicators, Kansas Press Association, the National Federation of Presswomen, Livestock Publications Council, and AAEA. In 2019, Jennifer reached the pinnacle of achievements, earning the title of “Writer of Merit” from AAEA.
Trips and accolades are lovely, but Jennifer says she is happiest on the road talking to farmers and ranchers and gathering stories and photos to share with readers.
“It’s an honor and a great responsibility to be able to tell someone’s story and bring them recognition for their work on the land,” Jennifer says. “But my role is also evolving to help our more urban neighbors understand the issues our Kansas farmers face in bringing the food and fiber to their store shelves.”
She spends her time gardening, crafting, watching K-State football, and cheering on her nephews and niece in their 4-H projects. She can be found on Twitter at @Latzke.
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