The Kansas Fairgrounds Foundation is excited to announce the induction of Ron and Marsha Schilling, Edson, Kansas as the 2023 Wall of Honor inductee in a combination of presentations to be held at the Foundation’s 2023 Boots and Bling event and also during the Supreme Drive of the Kansas State Fair Open Beef Show. Ron and Marsha have been life-long supporters of the Kansas State Fair and the Kansas Beef Cattle Industry.
Ron and Marsha developed a passion for agriculture and livestock from their respective parents and their involvement in 4-H livestock projects in Sherman County. They each separately started a purebred registered Limousin cowherd as part of their 4-H projects. Their involvement with the Kansas State Fair began when they attended and also then exhibited their animals in the 4-H livestock shows at the Fair.
Having known each other through 4-H, Ron said he always had his eye on Marsha, but only had the guts to ask her out on a date after he went off to Colby Community College. There, he competed on the livestock judging team and learned to give a good set of reasons. The confidence gained from livestock judging finally gave him the courage to ask Marsha for a date. One date led to many dates, and in 1979 they married and “honeymooned” in Manhattan until 1981 when Ron finished his degree in Animal Science from Kansas State University.
After Ron graduated from Kansas State University they moved back to Sherman County in northwest Kansas, where they’ve made their home, and been actively involved in production agriculture; raising crops, livestock, 3 wonderful sons and 4 perfect grandkids. In 2024, Ron and Marsha will celebrate 50 years of membership in the North American Limousin Foundation with the reputation of breeding top-quality Limousin cattle that worked for cattlemen across the country. In 2012, they added a registered Angus herd to their ranching operation. The Schillings have been selling registered seedstock for more than 40 years. They currently hold two auctions each year, selling show quality heifers in the fall and a production sale in the spring focusing on Limousin, Lim-Flex and Angus bulls along with a selection of high-quality replacement females.
They’ve had a love for the Kansas State Fair since their youth. The idea for holding a Supreme Drive for the open beef show at the Kansas State Fair started in the early 2000’s while exhibiting open class cattle with their sons. The Grand Champions from each beef breed would compete for the title of Supreme Champion. This was prior to the building of the Prairie Pavilion complex, built in 2004. The Schilling’s know that the quality of the open show cattle exhibited at the Kansas State Fair helped set the standard for beef shows nationwide. Grand Champions from the Kansas State Fair often go on to win major livestock shows across the nation.
After many conversations, persistence and getting a Fair Board that was willing to try something new, the idea gained momentum and in 2007 with the help of Ron Holland and Anne Lampe, the first Supreme Drive was held. According to the Schillings, it was a labor of love by many in the purebred beef industry to pull off this show. It highlights all the breed Grand Champions and allows one female and one bull the distinction of Supreme Champion of the Kansas State Fair. The Schillings noted the Supreme Drive has been blessed with great sponsors from the early years, many still sponsors to this day, and new sponsors who become part of the Supreme Drive fanfare with each new fair.
Ron designed the trophy after hockey’s “Stanley Cup” Trophy, where the names of the winners’ names are added each year making the trophy bigger and more prestigious to win each year in succession.
“Ron and Marsha have been integral to the Supreme Drive since its inception. In addition to being an open show exhibitor and sponsor, they’ve served as treasurer of the Supreme Drive Committee since the beginning. Ron sets up the Breed Champion display, ensuring each detail is coordinated from the breed stall signs, to personally welcoming the exhibitors. Marsha organizes the Supreme Drive reception, ordering the food and setting up the event for exhibitors and spectators.” said Anne Lampe, Kansas State Fair Beef Superintendent and Show Manager.
Anne continued, “Ron and Marsha are deeply invested in the success of the open beef shows at the Kansas State Fair, I always know that if I need help with anything concerning the Supreme Drive, the Schilling family is ready to help.” The Schillings feel honored to be a part of the development and continued success of the Open Beef Show Supreme Drive at the Kansas State Fair.
While making a difference for Kansas State Fair, they have also been active members of their local community serving on the Extension Board, Farm Bureau Board, School Board, and as 4-H club leaders, 4-H Beef leaders, on the Northwest Kansas District Free Fair Carnival Board and they host the Tri-State Royal of Champions every August. They are also actively involved in the Goodland Church of Christ. Most recently served on the Topside Manor Board which helped pass a bond issue, design and built a state-of-the-art full care facility for the elderly of Northwest Kansas. Marsha currently serves on the Ground Water Board and Ron is the current President of the Sherman County Community Foundation. The Schillings have always believed that if we want the world to be a better place, we all need to start with our home community first.
For more information on how you can support the Wall of Honor and the Kansas Fairgrounds Foundation please contact James Fisher, Executive Director, Kansas Fairgrounds Foundation at 620-615-7388 or James.Fisher@KansasSFF.org.
The Kansas Fairgrounds Foundation is recognized as a nonprofit 501(c)3 charitable organization.
To inspire excellence and understanding of Kansas agriculture, industry and culture through the Kansas State Fair, activities, educational programs and opportunities.