There’s a big party set for the Flint Hills.
It’s the 14th annual Symphony in the Flint Hills Saturday, June 15, in Irma’s Pasture near Bazaar in Chase County, Kansas.
There’ll be a pre-symphony lunch by invitation-only hosted by Ranchland Trust of Kansas and held at TS Herefords & Quarter Horse Ranch, Cottonwood Falls. The event will be sponsored by Dave and Wendy Webb of Webb & Associates of Stillwell and the Kansas Livestock Association.
The program will open with a tribute to Mike Beam. Presently serving as the Kansas Secretary of Agriculture, Beam was a longtime official of the Ranchland Trust of Kansas (RTK).
Lynn Gentine will be introduced and welcomed as the new RTK executive director.
Dr. A.E Titus and his son-in-law, Elmore Stout, became partners in the TS Ranch in 1938. Horned Hereford cattle and Morgan horses were the main interest at that time.
Elmore Stout had a big influence transitioning from Morgan to Quarter Horses. TS Ranch has been honored by the American Quarter Horse Association for more than 57 years of breeding Quarter Horses.
A production sale of Hereford seed stock and Quarter Horses is hosted on the last Saturday of February. This year marked the 55th annual sale.
Producing top quality Herefords and Quarter Horses, TS Ranch is operated by Wayne and Marcia Bailey, Wes and Richell Bailey, Justin Stout and their families.
Winners of the 2019 Kansas Cowboy Poetry Contest will recite their championship rhymes and be honored before a fundraising auction.
The Symphony in the Flint Hills is on private ranchland known as Irma’s Pasture owned by brothers Mike and Joe Stout.
Mike Stout serves as board chair for Symphony in the Flint Hills, while Christy Davis is the executive director.
“The ranch for this year’s event has been in my family for 20 years,” Mike Stout said. “It’s close to other land my family has owned at Bazaar since 1868 when my great-great-grandfather settled in the area.”
Randy and Cindy Peterson have looked after cattle on the lush Flint Hills pasture for a number of years. The Petersons and their neighbor Flint Hills ranchers will be horseback assisting with this year’s symphony activities.
“We invite you to join us at Irma’s Pasture when we consider the meaning of our state motto,” Stout welcomed.
That’s Ad Astra Per Aspera, Latin for “To the Stars through Difficulties,” adopted at the time of Kansas’ statehood in 1861.
“It recognizes the importance of celebrations, dances, games, potlucks, roping contests, that saw our ancestors through hard times,” Stout said.
Features include food and beverage, prairie walks, covered wagon rides, story circle, poetry, inspirational talks, art exhibit and an auction.
Of course, climax for the full day of festivities in the Flint Hills is a sunset concert performed by the Kansas City Symphony.
Activities continue into the night with an after-concert dance and star gazing.
This year’s theme spotlighting “Ad Astra,” features region wide activities that tie to “Jump!Star.”
“It’s a multi-faceted arts program developed by artist George Ferrandi with support from the National Endowment for the Arts,” Davis said. “Focus is on the land, the people and the future of the Kansas Flint Hills.
“Through a celebration of the transition of our North Star and constellations, ‘Jump!Star’ has been working around the country. The first iteration of this celestial celebration is culminating at the symphony,” Davis said.
“We are so grateful to BNSF Railway for their fifth year as our major presenting sponsor,” Davis acknowledged. “Without generous sponsors, it wouldn’t be possible to continue our mission to heighten appreciation and knowledge of the Flint Hills.”
Davis is stepping down from Symphony in the Flint Hills leadership at conclusion of this year’s event. Leslie Von Holten of Lawrence has been selected to serve as the executive director.
Complete schedule and details can be found at www.symphonyintheflinthills.org. Information is also available by calling 620-273-8955 and on Facebook.