Aksarben Stock Show brings new era

A family from Pipestone, MN unloads their trailer at Fonner Park for the Aksarben Stock Show (NTV News)

A longstanding Nebraska tradition begins a new era, as the Aksarben Stock Show hands over the reins.

The barns at Fonner Park began to fill up Thursday, as 4-H families return for the second Aksarben event in Grand Island.

“Really enjoyed it, thought it was ran very well,” said Brock Braden of Buffalo County, who showed livestock at Aksaraben in 2017.

Many in the barns agree. A family from Pipestone, MN said they liked the setup and returned.

This year, the Aksarben Foundation has turned over management to the Nebraska State Fair, hiring Greg Harder to run a show he knows well.

“My history goes back to the old Aksarben racetrack days, when Aksarben was there. First showed in 1974,” he said.

His family returned for many years, and he wants today's families to do the same.

“We're trying to build a real family friendly atmospheres, environment,” Harder said.

Gretchen Kirchmann, strategic development manager said, “Greg really wants this to be a fun event. He wants exhibitors and their families to come, and when they step on the grounds, talk about how they need to come back and bring others from their home states and home towns.”

They’re putting the focus on 4-H kids like Brock Braden of Buffalo County.

“I got started about 6 years ago showing, and just got hooked and really enjoy it and it's a big family deal,” he said.

The Aksarben Stock Show culminates with the Purple Ribbon Auction, raising hundreds of thousands for scholarships.

Kirchmann said, “We've got lots of sponsors and buying groups and the community really comes together to support them and then the students are able to have their animals auctioned off.”

First came a new home in Grand Island, and now new management, but Greg Harder says they're building on 90 years of tradition.

“This thing has a chance to be something special,” he said.

They've also good food vendors like Papa Tom's and Cactus Jacks, plus western vendors. The public is invited to check it out at Fonner Park.

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