NCSA Winter Ball attracts more than 165

Nebraska Cattlemen Sandhills Affiliate board member Kelly Kennedy and his wife, Kat, enjoy the festivities at the annual Winter Ball on New Year’s Eve at the Hooker County Fairgrounds.

MULLEN — The 165 plus cattlemen and women that came to the Hooker County Community Center at the Hooker County Fairgrounds to welcome 2020 had much better weather than the previous two years. The first one in 2018, the temperature and wind chill had it at negative 30. Last year it was negative 20. And this year — the weather was a “balmy” 30 degrees.

The Winter Ball on New Year’s Eve for the Nebraska Cattlemen Sandhills Affiliate is the chief fundraiser for the group throughout the year.

“This event helps us cover not only this night, but our January business meeting, complete with free meal to members; a golf outing and summer meeting in June at the Dismal River Club; a fall ranch tour, hamburgers to blood donors at area blood drives, plus gives three $1,000 scholarships to students,” said John Kraye of Mullen, who is the current president of the NCSA. Other board members include Frank Utter, past president; and Eric Schipporeit of Brewster; Troy Saner and Adam Zutavern, both of Dunning; Dan Wacher and Stefani Niesen, both Purdum; and Miles Mundorf of Mullen. Schipporeit, Zutavern and Wacher were not in attendance.

The New Year’s Eve Winter’s Ball includes a silent and live auction, a prime rib meal with all the trimmings provided by Chuckwagon ‘N’ Jug of Mullen (Gregg and Dawn Mallory), that also provides the refreshments at the cash bar. Helping the caterers are FFA students from the three schools in the NCSA region which include Mullen, Thedford and Sandhills at Dunning.

The ball is sponsored by Western Nebraska Bank, Harsh Mercantile, Daniels Manufacturing, Dismal River Golf Club, A L Silencer Chutes, Sand Hills Golf Club, First State Bank, Mullen, Kraye Angus, Broken Bow Animal Hospital, Stockmen Vet Clinic, Hoffman Ranch, V-Bar Trailer Sales, Bassett Livestock, AL Ranch Co., GenEx/Miles Livestock, Bruning State Bank, Geo-Rite, Sandhills Equipment, Sandhill Oil, Minert-Simonsen Angus, West Plains Bank, Merck, Farm Credit Services of Broken Bow and North Platte, Burwell Livestock, Ag Land ATV, Berry Creek Gun Shop, Hometown Lumber, Wenquist, Larry Coleman, DVM, Farmers/Ranchers, Ward Vet Services and Pit Stall. The sponsors are approached only one time per year.

The scholarships are awarded to two high school seniors in the NCSA region and one college student.

After the meal and the auction, the James Lee Band, whose roots are in central Nebraska, ushered in the New Year with live music.

The annual NCSA business meeting will be Monday at Sandhills Corral. Social hour starts at 6 p.m. and the meal at 6:30. Speakers will include the Nebraska Brand Committee.

Nebraska is divided into brand inspection area and non-inspection area. There is a push to do away with brands in Nebraska entirely. Also speaking will be Brenda Masek of Purdum, vice-president of the Nebraska Cattlemen who will be president of the NC in 2022. To RSVP, contact Stefani Niesen of Purdum, secretary, by calling 805-705-0411 or by email,

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