By Con Marshall
CHADRON – While inductions into the Dawes County Agricultural Hall of Fame will dominate ceremonies Sunday afternoon at 2:00 in the Fairgrounds Grandstands, several other county residents will be recognized for other awards.
Two Pioneer Farm Awards for owning at least 40 acres of land for 100 or more years will be given by the Aksarben Foundation and Nebraska Farm Bureau to families who own land east of Crawford.
One will go to Ron and Marisa Betson. They own a quarter section purchased in 1915 by Ron’s great-grandparents, Alfred and Augusta Betson. They willed it to one of their sons, Hollis, who, passed it on to Ron’s parents, Mark and Myrna, who sold it to Ron and Marisa in 2007.
The first Betsons to settle in Dawes County were William and Annie, who arrived in 1888 and took out a homestead in the same neighborhood.
The second Pioneer Farm Award will go to LaVerne and Shirley Stetson of Lincoln, who own the “home place” that was homesteaded by LaVerne’s grandfather, Eugene Stetson, in 1887. It was purchased in 1943 by Orville Stetson, Eugene’s son and LaVerne’s father.
It was eventually passed on to Orville’s widow and their three children. Since then LaVerne and Shirley have purchased his sister’s shares. Succeeding generations of Stetsons refer to the property as the “home in the hills” and frequently use it for vacations.
Terry and Carol Connell of Whitney will receive the Extra Miler Award, which is presented to those who lend a helping hand at the fair and never expect to be recognized. The Dawes County Ag Society selects the recipients.
The Connells are being honored for the numerous times Terry has hauled bleacher from Fort Robinson to the county fair and for providing his “fire pickup” to help clean up both the humans and the hogs following the hog wrestling.
The Connells also have often participated in work day prior to the fair and Carol has helped with the open exhibits in recent years. The couple also sponsored the Beef Herdsmanship Award at last year’s fair.
The Upper Niobrara White Natural Resources District is giving its Forest Management Award to Tyler Hunter of Blue Whale Logging for his involvement in forest thinning and fuel load control on more than 700 acres of timber since late 2007.
Hunter’s projects are designed to not only prevent wildfires, but also to maintain healthy stands of ponderosa pines and create suitable habitat for various species of birds and wildlife