Passion for cattle and community brings ranch families together for 2018 Cattlemen's Ball

Rob Marsh and Gregg Wiedel are just two ag producers from south central Nebraska who are part of the team putting together the 2018 Cattlemen's Ball of Nebraska (NTV News)

The Cattlemen’s Ball is the hottest ticket in Nebraska, as ranchers throw a party to raise money for cancer. And behind this year’s event, are hard-working ranchers who care about cattle and community.

“If you love beef this is the place to be this weekend,” Gregg Wiedel said, as he put the finishing touches on the grounds just north of Hebron.

Bringing the state’s biggest cancer fundraiser to Thayer County was an effort two years in the making.

“Got a core group of us, 8 couples, yeah we can do this,” Wiedel said.

Fellow rancher Rob Marsh helped get it going, hosting at the Hergott family farm.

He said, “In agriculture in Nebraska you learn you got to work together to get things done. Cattlemen's Ball is a great example of that. Our local feeders affiliate has helped a bunch here. Everybody in our rural area, multiple counties around that are involved in ag have stepped up to help us.”

Wiedel said, “And not only local community, but we're talking 50-60 mile radius where people have come in and helped with that.”

90 percent of the funds go to research at the Buffet Cancer Center in Omaha.

“If we can get say a million dollars, that helps them do that much more research, it doesn't go to build brick and mortar, it goes to help them get more grant money and do more research,” Wiedel said.

Cattle and community are common passions for Rob and Gregg, and in 2015, that led them to be one of the first schools bringing local beef to the cafeteria.

“That program has just taken off throughout the state,” Wiedel said.

Rob was one of the founders of the Titan Beef Boosters at Thayer Central.

He said, “It's really caught on throughout our state. We want to work together to get things done, whatever the project is.”

Both men raise cattle in the area, and both believe in giving back, although Gregg jokes he's not going to let Rob rope him into anything else for a while.

“When you call and want me to do something, I'm not going to answer the phone,” he said with a laugh.

For the Cattlemen’s ball, these ranchers invited people to adopt a calf. The animals were finished to market weight, bringing in more than a quarter of a million dollars.

The Rob and Natalie Marsh and Gregg and Janice Wiedel are just two of the families involved, quick to thank all those who've stepped up.

“It's very hard to beat the people in the center part of the United States and especially Nebraska people,” Gregg Wiedel said.

Gregg says they wish a few more people could enjoy the ball, but they're sold out, and appreciate all the support.

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