It began in 1899 as a Hereford show held under a tent in Kansas City, but over the past 113 years the American Royal Livestock show has grown into so much more. Today’s American Royal draws more than 270,000 people to Kansas City and has an economic impact estimated at $60 million.
“We are proud to continue this great tradition of promoting Kansas City, Missouri, the Midwest and this region’s role in agriculture,” says Brant Laue, chairman of the American Royal Board of Directors.
The livestock show in the Kansas City stockyards has now grown into an annual exhibition that draws top livestock owners and breeders, business and agriculture leaders, and animal enthusiasts to Missouri each year.
Highlights of the early September to mid-November event include more than 20 livestock shows, horse shows, the World Series of Barbecue and a rodeo featuring the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.
The American Royal is a nonprofit charitable organization whose purpose is to provide education about agriculture with a focus on youth education. The Royal’s organizers understand the importance of involving the younger generation in both the event and in agriculture.
“We take advantage of every opportunity to get the education message out, and not just during the event,” Laue says. “Recently we hosted school tours that allowed 4,000 kids to see a cow milked and to learn where their food comes from. Many of these students were from within Kansas City and had never been near a farm.”
In 2011, American Royal participants received more than $1.4 million in scholarships and educational awards from the organization.
It’s one of the most successful of its types of shows in the country, Laue says. Given its outstanding tradition and legacy of success, participants, from livestock exhibitors to the barbecue pit masters, would agree.