Cattlemen of the Year are the Leinens Friend of the Industry awards went to the late Richard Maassen, known as “Mase,” who devoted his life to the cattle industry and to the Shelby Vet Clinic.Declan Gross, Beef Backer of the Year

Cattlemen donate $372,250 since 2010 for scholarships/loans

Leinens named Cattlemen of the Year at banquet
See the Cattlemen video by clicking the youtube link at the top of the story

See the brief event video at:


PANAMA - The steaks were cooked to perfection, the banquet hall filled to the rim and the annual Cattlemen’s banquet was the place to be for great food, an outstanding community auction and friendship.  


St. Mary’s Parish Center was again packed as more than 700 area residents and cattlemen attended the event. 


The overflow crowd was served a New York Strip steak with all the fixings in just over an hour and that feat could only be topped by the announcement from cattlemen vice president Kevin Goshorn that in the past eight years $372,250 in student and heifer scholarships and financed interest free heifer loans will have been given out by the organization.


“This year the 29 - $1,000 academic scholarships is something we are very proud of. The key to this is those of you in the crowd that support the scholarship auction both by purchasing items and donating them for the auction,” Goshorn said.


“We’ve given 199 - $1,000 academic scholarships, awarded 23 heifer scholarships in the amount of $34,650 and interest free loans in the amount of $138,600.”

“That’s a total of $372,250 in scholarships and interest free loans given back to the youth of our communities. That’s a very impressive number and thank you all.” Goshorn said.


Although final receipts won’t be tallied until later this week, officials said the annual trophy auction alone set another record of $29,000 while estimates of the general auction were pending for the event.


Funds raised go toward the Shelby County Fair trophy awards, college scholarships, heifer scholarship programs, beef promotions and banquet expenses.


Great event

Cattlemen president Tim Graeve repeated his annual thanks to everyone, “It was another extremely successful night and is a reflection of the pride and ownership that we have as a county. The money raised and the support are truly heartwarming, plus it’s a lot of fun and nearly all the funds raised go back to the greater community -- that’s why I believe this event is so successful.”


Graeve said it is also great to have the new president of the Iowa Cattlemen’s Assoc. in attendance, David Trowbridge, Tabor.


Each year the 19-member board and their spouses create the single largest fund raising effort in the county. Fifty-five New York strip loins weighing some 800 lbs.  from Fareway went into the handmade Roto-Smoke Grill early that morning. 


Grilling was handled by: Ken Schechinger, Ernie Peters, Kent Andersen, Dave Schomers, Kasey Bradley, Justin Ahrenholtz, Josh Leinen and Matt Hodapp. The organization also welcomed new board members: Josh Leinen and Brea Schwarte.


Cattlemen of the Year

This year’s Cattlemen of the Year, Steve Leinen, has been a lifelong citizen of Shelby County and his farm has been in the family for generations. His passion for farming was evident at an early age as he and his brothers imitated what his dad did in the field with their toy tractors.


As he grew older, he helped bale hay and began taking on chores on a daily basis. He couldn’t wait to get home from his T & I job in high school to help on the farm.  He began farming shortly after his marriage to DeeDee Greiner. He raised hogs the old fashion way, letting the sows out one-by-one. 


In 1985, the cow herd was started, and has grown to nearly 100 head, taking extra pride in feeding them by hand on a regular basis. In his spare time, he enjoys construction work, mostly the non-paying variety for his extended family.


While he was never involved in FFA or 4-H as a child, he quickly learned all about these organizations as his children grew older, with a special liking toward woodworking and showing cattle, and he became an expert at helping round up cattle at the fairgrounds.


There is never a dull moment for this man, raising four children, six grandchildren and being married for 33 years to his high school sweetheart.


It has been said by his peers “this man doesn’t volunteer just to participate; he volunteers to make a difference”. During the last 30 years he and his wife have volunteered for many different committees, boards and activities. He has coached his children in baseball, basketball, softball and helped with 4-H cattle clinics. 

He has been a volunteer firefighter for more than 20 years, and has been involved in leadership positions within 4-H and St. Mary’s Catholic Church, the Harlan Athletic Booster club for more than 15 years, the Harlan Baseball Board and the Panama Athletic Assoc.


Lastly, he has been on the cattlemen’s board since 1999, providing regular entertainment reading back the board minutes as the secretary at each meeting and being an instrumental part of the annual banquet acting as the emcee as one of his many roles.


Steve and wife, DeeDee, have four children: Ashley Nihsen, Panama; Adam, Waukee; Amber Knudsen, Atlantic and Allison, Panama.


Beef Backer of the Year

Declan Gross, has been farming his whole life, the third generation in his family to do so. After learning the tricks of the trade from his dad (Alban), he started farming on his own after high school. His operation involved raising crops, a farrow-to-finish hog operation, and managing a cow-calf herd.


When his father became ill he took the lead on the farm, as well as taking over as a Golden Harvest seedsman, a business he continues to this day, and he also serves on the Farm Service Coop board of directors.


Although the farming operation is quieter now, he still can be seen going through the pasture to check on his cows, greeting them with a calm, “hey girls.”

Gross truly cares about the animals on his farm, risking life and limb for an animal in trouble, and occasionally bringing a young calf into the house to see it gets the warmth and around-the-clock care it needs to survive


He lives on his family’s Century Farm with his wife, Gayla, where he raises and sells pre-conditioned feeder calves.


His son, Joseph, has joined him part-time in farming, while his daughter, Angela,  lives with her family in Shenandoah, where she is a teacher. Recently retired after 30 years as volunteer EMT for Earling, he and his wife enjoy camping, Harley trips and spending time with their six grandchildren, and will be celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary this April.


Friend of the Industry

This year’s Friend of the Industry awards went to the late Richard Maassen, known as “Mase,” who devoted his life to the cattle industry and to the Shelby Vet Clinic. 


In junior high, Mase started helping out at the Shelby Vet Clinic and continued to do so throughout high school. He then attended the Univ. of Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis, NE and upon graduation, returned home and continued to work at the Shelby Vet Clinic. 


While working at the clinic, he also managed his own cattle herd and served on the Pottawattamie County Cattlemen Board for several years.


Mase appreciated all aspects of veterinary medicine but enjoyed working with cattle the most. His favorite days were spent out in the country processing and caring for cattle while conversing and joking with clients during his 33 years of service. He made countless friendships throughout the area over the years and will be greatly missed since his passing on January 18, 2018.


There will be a benefit auction for the Maassen family at the Minden Community Center, on Sun., Feb. 25 from 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.


Gratitude to those helping

Graeve offered special thanks to local auctioneers Jim, Austin and Jay Schaben, Jared Muhlbauer, Tom Pauley, Jim Reisz, Will Epperly, and others for their outstanding work on the trophy and donated item auctions.


“All these individuals are truly one-of-a-kind for what they do for our organization and county, we can’t say thank you enough to them,” he said.


More to follow Friday

See the February 9 Harlan News-Advertiser for photos of student, trophy and heifer scholarship winners, board members and volunteers.

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