January Volunteer Spotlight: 2023 Recap

The Volunteer Spotlight section has become a much anticipated part of the First Friday E-Update during its cardinal year in 2023. It started in February 2023 and has featured a different volunteer each month throughout the year.

We want to share a recap of all of the 2023 volunteer spotlights by sharing some of the best quotes from each one.

February 2023: Don and Patty Kueck

Don and Patty have been volunteering with the Foundation since 2021, but have been lifetime supporters of the Kansas State Fair. In the past, they have donated their homemade chuckwagon dinner experience as a popular live auction item for Boots and Bling.

“We love the Kansas State Fair and it’s a wonderful asset for our community to have. I’m excited to see how it will continue to change, yet stay the same as we move into the future.”

Patty Kueck on the Kansas State Fair

March 2023: Hjetland Family

Cooper (14) and his sister Rozalin (11) have volunteered several times in the last year with their mother, Kansas Fairgrounds Foundation (KFF) board member Anne Hjetland. Last year was their first year volunteering with KFF, while Anne has been on the Foundation board since 2021.

“It’s important to step up and do the right thing, so it’s a great way to lead by example.”

Anne Hjetland on volunteering as a family.

April 2023: Abby Miller

Abby Miller has gone from volunteering to serving on the Foundation’s board of directors. Abby brings experience as she and her family are involved with the Special Forces Foundation, to support her husband. Being a part of Women-Owned Businesses is another important aspect of Abby’s life and career.

“I think the Foundation has some really impactful initiatives and I can’t wait to see how the fair benefits from them.”

Abby Miller on the future of the Kansas Fairgrounds Foundation

May 2023: Monica Bergmeier

A self-proclaimed people-person and avid volunteer for many different organizations through the years, Monica Bergmeier has been involved with the Kansas Fairgrounds Foundation (KFF), helping with Boots and Bling, since August 2021.

“I was amazed the first time I saw Boots and Bling, just at how incredible it was. There are some really talented people behind the event. If you’ve never been, it’s totally worth experiencing and it’s for a good cause.”

Monica Bergmeier on Boots and Bling

June 2023: Scott and Leanna Love

Long-time fair supporters Scott and Leanna Love have supported the Kansas State Fair (KSF) by volunteering with the Kansas Fairgrounds Foundation (KFF) practically since the Foundation was incorporated in 2003.

“From 1959 to 1962, I participated in Band Day.  At that time we marched from downtown and performed at the grandstand.  It was a long march, sometimes over 90 degrees, in those hot wool band uniforms.”

Scott Love on participating in the Kansas State Fair

July 2023: Jim Stukey

It’s impossible to talk Boots and Bling without mentioning the stellar Jim Stukey as this month’s volunteer spotlight. Jim has been responsible for painting the backdrops that bring Boots and Bling to life every year since 2014.

“Boots & Bling is one of those things that will grow a little every year. Which is in keeping with the spirit of the Fair’s continuing tradition of family fun… For five days in August we work our backsides off. When people arrive and see the hard work we’ve done, they are in awe. It’s so worth it.”

Jim Stukey on volunteering for Boots and Bling

August 2023: Heath Bergkamp

The Live Auction at Boots and Bling is a can’t miss part of the night, especially thanks to all the hard work done by Heath Bergkamp, the Boots and Bling auctioneer. For the last 3 years Bergkamp has been volunteering as a part of the dynamic duo made up of him and John McCurry, who acts as the emcee for the auction.

“It’s been top notch from the start. The first year I did it, it was amazing, but the number of people that’s grown in even 3 years is incredible.”

Heath Bergkamp on auctioneering for Boots and Bling

September 2023: Dylan Evans

Get to know KSF board member and Kansas Fairgrounds Foundation (KFF) volunteer, Dylan Evans. Dylan’s significant involvement with both organizations gives him an unmatched perspective when it comes to all things Fair and Fairgrounds.

“[The collaboration between the boards] is the best it’s ever been.”

Dylan Evans on the Kansas State Fair board and the Kansas Fairgrounds Foundation board

October 2023: Emily Mullen

Emily has been involved with the Kansas Fairgrounds Foundation (KFF) behind the scenes for many years since Mary McCurry, the current chairperson of the Foundation, is her mother. However, in the last several years the mission of the Foundation has really hit home for Mullen as she has started to see first-hand the heart behind it all.

“Those of us attending Boots and Bling are all working towards a better Fairgrounds for all who come to attend not only the State Fair, but the hundreds of other events and activities that happen on the Fairgrounds.”

Emily Mullen on Boots and Bling

November 2023: Steve Dillon

Never one to seek attention, Steve was a founding member of the Kansas Fairgrounds Foundation (KFF) in 2003 and has served ever since. The board would not be the same without his steady presence, sense of humor, and unquestionable support.

“We need to help take care of the Fair and the Fairgrounds since Kansas State Fair is a self-supporting fee-fund state agency and therefore receives limited state funding. They have to have money to keep updating the Fair and the facilities to keep it up-to-date and relevant.”

Steve Dillon on the importance of the Kansas Fairgrounds Foundation

December 2023: Mary Alice Lair

Mary Alice, as she is known to nearly everyone, has been involved with the Kansas State Fair (KSF) since the mid 70s and has been an integral part, not only of starting and building the Foundation, but in making the Kansas State Fair into what we know and love today.

“Coming to the Kansas State Fair today, I see all the people, and all of the improvements that have been made and I feel my mission is complete.”

Mary Alice Lair on the 2023 Kansas State Fair

We want to say a big thank you to all of our volunteer spotlights for their hard work and support of the Kansas Fairgrounds Foundation, as well as taking the time to be interviewed for our articles. We look forward to celebrating even more volunteers in 2024! If you know someone who should be interviewed for our volunteer spotlight, email us at info@ksfgf.org.

Interested in becoming a Kansas Fairgrounds Foundation volunteer?

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