Longhorns captivate Kansans at Sunflower Parade
The streets of Wichita reverted back nearly a century as the Kansas Livestock Association helped celebrate the state's 150th birthday by driving 30 magnificent Longhorn steers in the Kansas Sunflower Parade, Oct. 8. Thousands of Kansans packed the sidewalks of Main Street as the Longhorns stretched out nearly half a block.
Gov. Sam Brownback, KLA President Elect Frank Harper of Sedgwick, Kansas ranching historian Jim Hoy of Emporia, and KLA Director of Feedlot Services Clayton Huseman led the Longhorns down the parade route. They were accompanied by the owners of the cattle, Wes and Cody Sander with the Chain Ranch at Woodward, Okla.
Spectators were watching cattle come down Main Street for the first time in decades. The majority of the 8- to 20-year-old cattle had horn spans exceeding 7 feet, creating an "awe factor" for parade-goers. Responses of "wow" and "cool" were common among those viewing the KLA parade entry.
Trailing the cattle was a group of KLA leaders in a horse-drawn wagon. The contingency included KLA President Ken Grecian and his wife, Barb, from Palco; KLA Executive Vice President Dee Likes; Tracy Brunner, Ramona; Todd Allen, Wichita; and former KLA Executive Vice President John Meetz.
"KLA's objective was to show the public the quality of care we give our animals and, while we had their attention, remind them of the industry's significant contributions to the state's economy," said Grecian, a rancher and farmer from Graham County.
Dignitaries riding "drag" on the cattle included: Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer and his wife, Kathy; Sedgwick County Commissioner Karl Peterjohn; and Via Christi Health Executive Director of Communications Skip Hidlay. Others driving the cattle were: Josh, Gwen and Josie Hoy with the Flying W Ranch of Cedar Point; Cathy Hoy, Emporia; and Mark Huseman and Scott Bohl, both from Ellsworth. Flying W Ranch provided the wagon and saddle horses for the honored guest riders.
KLA is a trade organization representing ranchers, feeders, diversified farmers and dairymen on legislative, regulatory and industry issues at the state and federal levels. The association's work is funded through dues dollars paid by members.