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The first Aggieville Showdown will hold its Grand Drive event April 17, right on Moro Street in Manhattan, Kan.

Jennifer M. Latzke, Editor

April 13, 2021

2 Min Read
Young girl showing a beef heifer
NEW CATTLE SHOW: The Aggieville Showdown is a new beef cattle show that’s bringing the Grand Drive to Moro Street in the Aggieville Business District in Manhattan, Kan.BrandyTaylor/Getty Images

Cattle shows aren’t new. But hosting the Grand Drive in the middle of a popular shopping and entertainment district? Now that’s moo-ving the needle.

The Aggieville Showdown, coming up Saturday (April 17) in Manhattan, Kan., is the brainchild of Christian Calliham and a group of Kansas State University students. Calliham, founder and general manager, says they were just talking one day about how unique it would be to bring a cattle show to Moro Street in Aggieville.

“I and a couple of my friends interned during the summer in Manhattan, and one day after work we were in Aggieville and talking, and this random idea came about,” he says. “Wouldn’t it be cool to do a Grand Drive in the center of Aggieville?” He says they thought that might connect the city to the farm. And what would be more attention-grabbing than closing down Moro Street — the main street through the Aggieville Business District near the campus — and hosting the Grand Drive in front of the famous Rally House marquee?

But, how would you do that? On a whim, Calliham contacted Dennis Cook, executive director of the Aggieville Business Association, with the idea. Calliham says that Cook and the Aggieville business owners signed onto the idea and have been very helpful in bringing the idea to reality.

Connect city with farm

“No other cattle show in the nation has created a Grand Drive in the street of a popular business and entertainment district,” Calliham says. It will give locals a chance to see agriculture in action, and give participants a unique opportunity.

The Aggieville Showdown is bringing exhibitors ages 8 to 25 years old from across the nation to compete for more than $5,000 in cash prizes. Showmanship, prospect market beef and breeding heifer classes will start at 9 a.m. April 17 at the Riley County Fairgrounds. Judges Ashley Judge and Jake Wagner, Loveland, Colo., will select the top six prospect market beef and breeding heifers to advance to the Grand Drive that starts at 6 p.m. in Aggieville.

This event was supposed to debut last April, but the 2020 pandemic pushed it to 2021. Calliham says the show committee used the extra time to expand the event to include not only the Grand Drive, but also boutique vendors, a fashion show, and a live performance by recording artist and K-State alumnus Lucas Maddy.

“We just really appreciate how the city and the Aggieville Business Owners Association has embraced this event, and we’re excited to bring something new to Manhattan,” Calliham says.

For more information, visit aggievilleshowdown.com.

The Aggieville Showdown staff contributed to this article.

About the Author(s)

Jennifer M. Latzke

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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