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Farm Tech volunteers earn lunch, kudos for show performance

Committee leaders Rick Sweig, Dan Reiss, Dewayne Benedict, Greg Andrews and Beth Ingli awaited arrivals to Saturday's Farm Technology Days volunteer recognition event in the arena building at the Pierce County Fairgrounds. Volunteers received a complimentary bratwurst lunch catered by The Valley and lots of acknowledgement.1 / 2
About 350 people made reservations to attend Saturday's volunteer recognition event as a follow up to Wisconsin Farm Technology Days. Organizers singled out many people for acknowledgment -- especially show hosts and volunteers Roger and Bev Peterson of River Falls -- and showed a photo presentation set to music.2 / 2

Farm Technology Days volunteers were rewarded with a bratwurst and baked bean lunch, door prizes and lots of applause Saturday afternoon as organizers of the three-day July show reunited to celebrate success and acknowledge the hard work by hundreds of Pierce County residents.

A short photo and music presentation showed highlights from the event and elicited some laughs when committee co-chair Mel Pittman grabbed a microphone and crooned karoke-style with the band Meatloaf's song lyrics -- "don't be sad 'cause two out of three ain't bad," a reference to the third day washout of 2010 Farm Tech Days.

Organizers didn't offer details about the show's overall financial finish but the presentation indicated attendance was about 40,000 people and $100,000 will be dedicated to youth scholarships from show proceeds.

Pittman and executive secretary Greg Andrews gave special attention to several people with Andrews offering "headache awards" to utility committee chairman Rick Sweig of Ellsworth for his extra efforts in extending internet access to the headquarters trailer. Also singled out was Bob Fenske, a leader in the team that laid out the extensive Tent City; Terry Kusilek, co-chair of the grounds committee who, Andrews noted, continues to work on cleaning up the show site; and Dale Hines, parking committee co-chair who overcame great challenges, especially following heavy rains on the show's third abbreviated final day.

Pittman summarized that Pierce County's recent hosting may have be the "only time in our lifetime" the exhibition comes to the county but noted, "we'll have to see what the future brings for us down the road."

Some volunteers took home gift bags containing unsold commemorative stuffed animals and hats, while others won Fleet Farm gift certificates.

Some Pierce Farm Technology Days cookbooks remained on sale on Saturday, but Pittman said the supply was dwindling and that book sales alone yielded nearly $46,000 that helped fund the show.

Although 350 people responded they'd planned to attend the event, leftover bratwurst provided by a catering crew from The Valley indicated some took advantage of Saturday's sunshine and opted out.