Off and running

Dan Crisler
Public Opinion Staff Writer

The 74th Watertown Winter Farm Show kicked off Tuesday by honoring a farm couple from Raymond who played significant roles in making the show into the success it is today.

Gathered with their children, grandchildren and relatives at the Codington County Extension Complex’s livestock show ring, Rod and Mary Hurlbut were honored by a large crowd and the Watertown Chamber of Commerce Ag Committee for their service stretching back many decades for their involvement in organizing the show and finding ways to improve it.

Among many other things, the Hurlbuts, who served as breed managers for the South Dakota Simmental Association at the farm show for 25 years, were responsible for the development of a central program that kept track of all the cattle breeds present at the farm show. Previously, breeds who appeared all had separate programs, creating a layer of complication.

For as much effort as they have put into the Watertown Winter Farm Show, the Hurlbuts are not ones to take any credit. Indeed, they expressed appreciation Tuesday for being recognized along with their family with a plaque commemorating their service.

“This is really quite an honor for us,” Rod Hurlbut said.

Yet it is a well deserved one for a couple who’ve been coming to the farm show since they were children. For example, Rod’s first farm show memory is of his grandfather buying his first Angus bull for $850 in 1948.

“This has always kind of been the venue that we really enjoyed,” he said.

From the Chamber’s perspective, honoring the Hurlbuts after their many years of service was the right thing to do.

“We’re just so thankful for all that they’ve done,” Chamber Director of Programming Keriann Beadnell said. “We look at how much the catalog has really grown in the years. That was kind of his idea in getting that started. The farm show is such a big project. Having people like the Hurlbuts makes everything run way more smoothly.”

Even with the cold temperatures outside, Beadnell said farm show preparations and kickoff have gone off without a hitch.

“We had good turnout for our couple of classes Tuesday morning and we had a great turnout for the dedication,” she said.

Beadnell expressed hope that momentum will carry over for the rest of the week in drawing out crowds ultimately numbering to approximately 30,000.

“We’re hoping the weather doesn’t keep people at home and they can still come out to break up winter a little bit,” she said. “We’re excited to get the week going.”

The farm show’s second day Wednesday will see seminars in the afternoon focused on health issues and financial tips.

The farm show will conclude at 4 p.m. Saturday. That final day will see a legislative cracker barrel at 9 a.m. and a demonstration of Bramble Park Zoo animals at 2:30 p.m. in the Watertown Parks and Recreation Fieldhouse.

Auctioneer Terry Schlagel calls for bids for the final bull from Dahl Angus of Clark in the Angus sale during the 2019 Watertown Winter Farm Show at the Codington County Extension Complex Tuesday.