The first Saturday of the Iowa State Fair features the Governor’s Charity Steer Show. The show, now in its 35th year, was established in 1982 by then-governor Terry Branstad.
“Branstad wanted to be able to work with Iowa’s beef industry and highlight not only the great things that our cattlemen are doing, but also find a charity that we could truly give back too that would impact Iowans. The charity that he selected in 1932 was the Ronald McDonald House Charities, and since then, we’ve continued the tradition every year at the Iowa State Fair,” Iowa Beef Industry Council Director of Relations Doug Bear said.
The show features 25 steers from all across the state. Steers chosen from the show are known to be the “best,” oftentimes receiving grand champion or reserve champion at a previous county fair.
The day of the show, steers are shown by well-known Iowa “celebrities,” such as Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, Blank Children’s Hospital President Dr. Steve Stephenson, UNI President Mark Nook and U.S. Senator Joni Ernst. Steers and their respective celebrities vie for the championship designation, showmanship honors and the People’s Choice award.
Immediately following the show, the steers will be sold at an auction, with all funds being benefiting the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Iowa. The Iowa Beef Industry Council and the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association expect this year’s show to raise $3 million.
Iowa Beef Industry Council Director of Relations said not only does the event allow the organization to highlight Iowa’s beef industry, but also help impact families across the state.
“This year, the Des Moines Ronald McDonald House is under construction for a brand new remodel, so we’re going to work with UnityPoint Hospital and Blank Children’s Hospital,” Bear said. “We’re going to take our 25 youth, their families and some of the celebrities and sponsors to donate a few hours of their time to help families at the hospital and do various activities.”
The 35th annual Governor’s Charity Steer Show will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday in the Pioneer Livestock Pavilion, and the auction will be held immediately afterward in the Penningroth Media Center.