Downtown Marquette hosts over 100 cattle at the annual angus auction
Visitors come to Marquette for a one-of-a-kind bull auction
Cattle ranchers and community members gather on Washington Street in downtown Marquette during Barta Farms’ “Angus Comes to Town” bull sale on Tuesday night.
MARQUETTE — Following the success of last year’s event, downtown Marquette will see cattle take to its streets for another cattle auction this week.
Little River-based Barta Farms will bring Angus bulls and females downtown on Friday for its fourth annual bull sale.
Ryan Barta, the farm’s owner, said this was Marquette’s second year hosting the event.
“Last year we weren’t able to have it because of COVID,” Barta said.
He said after speaking with Stan Von Strohe at the Smoky Valley Distillery in Marquette, they thought this might be a good experience for people and businesses in downtown Marquette, as many events were not happening during the pandemic.
Continued: Cozy Inn celebrates 100 years of slider service at its six-stool restaurant
“We brainstormed and thought if we could have a community event…it could be a really good opportunity for businesses to drive traffic,” Barta said.
Barta is a fan and big customer of the distillery, and loves the idea of supporting Kansas businesses. He even goes so far as to bring gallons of his vodka to a Bloody Mary bar he hosts at a breeders conference in Oklahoma.
“It’s good, everyone likes the difference, likes that it comes from… a little distillery in Kansas,” Barta said.
The auction will take place in the distillery’s tasting room, and Barta expects it to be full of people from across the state and beyond, especially since they’ve moved the event on a Friday.
Continued: Smoky Hill Museum teaches Black history in Salina through new driving tour
Add more to the event this year
Along with the livestock auction, this year’s event will also provide opportunities for farmers and ranchers to learn and connect with each other and with sellers.
“We partnered with the … National Farmers Organization,” Von Strohe said. “From 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., we have five different speakers covering a variety of topics.”
The trade show starts at 2:30 p.m., which Barta said is helpful for farmers and ranchers in the area, as shows like this don’t happen as often as they used to.
“We’re just trying to do something like that, to get guys to a place on a day and time that’s still open for (people) in this community,” Barta said. “Nobody’s really on the ground yet. It’s a good time for them to come together and a good time for companies to bring their stuff out there.”
Barta said the show will also be an opportunity for people coming to support the local community.
“We are requesting an entry fee to the show to benefit the Marquette Learning Center,” Barta said.
As well as benefiting the learning center, Von Strohe said bringing lots of people to Marquette would also help businesses there.
“We’re always trying to do something to get people (here) and keep it on the map more than anything,” Von Strohe said.
It is a unique sight to see, which immediately attracts many people.
“My grandkids live in Dallas and Rogers, Arkansas, and this is one of their favorite events,” Von Strohe said. “They’re city kids, they don’t see a bunch of bulls.”
Barta said this “city people” draw was helpful.
“We want to bring them in too,” he said. “We want to show them that this is what we do, this is our operation.”
By showing people what the agriculture industry is really like, Barta said, it could help outsiders understand it better.
“(We want) to show them… what this can do for all of us,” he said. “The education side of the (agricultural) sector in Kansas is a pretty interesting thing we have here.”
A calendar of events on the day of the auction
Seminars begin at 10:00 a.m. on March 18, after check-in at 9:30 a.m. for the educational seminars, which run until 2:30 p.m.
The trade show begins at 2:30 p.m. At 6 p.m., the bull sale begins in the Tasting Room at Smoky Valley Distillery, 105 N. Washington St. After the sale, there will be dinner and a live band.