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Big Iron celebrates 29 years as region's premier ag expo

Big Iron, the Midwest region's largest agricultural expo is back bigger and better than ever, with organizers hoping to outperform last year's record-breaking attendance figures during its three day run, Sept. 15-18.

The event is held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily at the Red River Valley Fairgrounds, located on the west edge of West Fargo, with convenient access off of Interstate 94.

Over 80,000 people took in last year's production and organizers are hoping to best those numbers this year with the 800 exhibitors representing over 600 companies, showing off the latest in farm equipment and technology in both indoor and outdoor display areas on approximately 200 acres of easy-to-maneuver ground space.

Big Iron General Manager Bryan Schulz said that response to this year's show has been overwhelming, crediting event coordinator Chaun Merkens with doing an outstanding job of trying to accommodate as many vendors as possible. "Chaun is finding every crevice possible to fit a booth," Schulz noted. "We are completely full, and that is a nice thing to have happen."

In anticipation of accommodating the growing numbers Schulz said that those involved never "take the show lightly. Because of its size, it takes us weeks to get ready and our crews have been heavily involved in that process for quite some time."

In addition to the grand array of booths and displays, infield and GPS demonstrations will be featured each day on the area south of the show grounds, with free shuttle service to and from the demonstration area.

Those planning to attend are encouraged to check in the show office for times and details. A tractor pull at 5 p.m. in the grandstand area will also be part of the action, with the Tuesday event featuring modifieds, and the Wednesday pull antiques.

Ladies' programming will also be part of the fun, with the Ladies Day Brunch taking place Wednesday, Sept. 16, at the Doublewood Inn, Fargo, with tickets available at the door. Registration begins at 9 a.m. The event will run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. with a style show courtesy of Catherine's, Coldwater Creek and dress barn. Sandy Buttweiler of KFGO will serve as the master of ceremonies.

A craft show will be staged from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day of Big Iron in the Cass County Bureau Ag Education Center. A bloodmobile will also be on the grounds each day for those wishing to donate, with times to be posted, and health screenings will be conducted from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily in the Horticulture Building.

Demonstrations will also feature the most powerful new equipment hitting the market across the nation, featuring manufacturers from the region and beyond. Overall, the show is a great opportunity to view firsthand the latest in farming technology in action.

Also providing a significant presence are the growing number of global guests, with 175 international visitors from various parts of the world with a high interest in agricultural equipment expected to attend, thanks to efforts of the North Dakota Trade Office.

A large variety of daily speakers have also been coordinated by the Red River Valley Farm Network for the Issues and Events Center. Among the sessions are "Agriculture: A conversation with North Dakota Governor John Hoeven and Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty (invited) on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m., as well as an "Agricultural Policy Roundtable" on Thursday at 10:30 a.m. featuring American Soybean Association CWO Steve Censky.

As always, admission to the grounds and parking will be free. People movers will also be available to transport people, also free of charge, from parking areas to the grounds and around different areas of the grounds. There will also be camping available just east of the show.

For more information about Big Iron, visit their Web site at or call 701-282-2200.