(Jamie) Good morning and welcome back to Farm Factor at the 3i Show in Dodge City. Let’s join Kyle Bauer as he and Eddie Estes discuss the origins of the 3i Show.
(Kyle) Hi this is Kyle Bauer, I have the opportunity and the pleasure to visit with Eddie Estes, he is the, I’ll call you manager, you can help me out on the exact title here in a bit, for the 3i Show. We’re in Dodge City, Kansas. The 3i Show has been a staple of western Kansas agriculture for many, many years. And Eddie I’d like for you to lay out the history of the 3i Show for me. (Eddie) Well first of all, the very first one Kyle, was in Hays, Kansas, in 1953. However, prior to that it was a traveling caravan, they called it. They would take about eight or nine companies from western Kansas. They basically would go from town square to town square, set up, have a show, go to the next town. And that’s how the whole deal got started. And that was prior to ’53. The Association was actually born in 1949. (Kyle) Let’s talk about the Western Kansas Manufacturers Association, who is actually the owner of the show. Tell us about that organization. (Eddie) That’s where it was established in 1949 and as a matter of fact, it was a group of western Kansas manufacturers who wanted to do something as a group to promote manufacturing in this part of the state. Nothing had been done up to that time. And all these folks said, “You know, it’s up to us to do this. So let’s just get it done.” And that’s exactly what happened. They got together. They made up a plan, but it took all those years Kyle, to actually come up with a show that they would ground in Hays in 1953. (Kyle) So, how many years then, so they did four years of the traveling caravan? (Eddie) About that, yes about four. And then sometimes they would do it a couple of times during a year, depending on if people had new products, but primarily it was just about four or five years and then they went to the site in Hays, Kansas. (Kyle) How long in Hays and what was the evolution after that? (Eddie) After that it was all over the place. It was in Colby. It was in Liberal. It was in Pratt. It had been a lot of different places, but as it grew and you understand this better than most, it’s difficult to move something around that much. Once it really got some legs and started to establish itself, well not quite like it is today, but even then it was getting pretty good size. (Kyle) My first 3i Show that I came as a person that displayed was 1985. And talk about what things were like then and when you came to semi-permanent places. (Eddie) In 1970, that was the last time that the show was in Dodge City, 1970. So after that time, it was really getting a pretty good size at that time. They decided Kyle, to move it then to a couple of locations so Garden City, Kansas, and Great Bend, Kansas, then got in the picture and they established some locations to do that and it was that way until we moved here to the permanent site in 2012. (Kyle) And what was the reasoning to go to a permanent site? (Eddie) A lot of reasons. Number one, exhibitors. They wanted a permanent site. Right now Kyle, we’ve already got buildings going up that are permanent. You can’t do that when you are moving around like that. So, that’s one of the biggest things. And the other thing is, exhibitors frankly, and you know this better than anyone, they like to be in a location where they can be seen and found every year. So, that was the other reason too. And then of course, trying to find exactly the right timing and all that. That’s not an easy thing to do, but that’s what we’re working on every day. (Kyle) Well and truly, for many, many, many years you were in the middle of April, which I remember snow, I remember hail, I remember nice days, windy days, sunny days, warm days. And then you moved it from that time to a different time. (Eddie) And you know one year we called it a Hail of a Show, because it was. We had everything there, just about. And matter of fact, we had events that we kind of had to look about, well can we do those in the future and all that? This site we have now Kyle, has a 200,000 square foot building, with more than 500 spaces just on one side of it. Plus a full arena and a whole bunch of dirt section on the other side of it. We have one million, five hundred thousand square feet outside with electrical hookups every 50 feet and a great surface that rain, snow or whatever might happen, we can still have the show and park in the same thing. So that’s, there’s all those kind of reasons that you have to do that. That’s a tough decision to make, particularly when you’ve been working other communities for all those years. (Kyle) We’re visiting with Eddie Estes the Manager of the 3i Show. We’re in Dodge City, Kansas. This is Kyle Bauer reporting.
(Jamie) Thanks Kyle. Folks, stay with us as Kyle catches up next with Robin Jennison, Secretary of Wildlife and Parks for the state of Kansas.