39th Annual Iowa Governor’s Charity Steer Show Sets Records

Iowans are known for banding together for a cause, and Iowans have a love affair with the Iowa State Fair. It’s no wonder the 39th Annual Iowa Governor’s Charity Steer Show set new records in 2021! Record-breaking crowds of fairgoers are back after the 2020 Iowa State Fair was canceled due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.

The 39th annual Governor’s Charity Steer Show on Saturday, August 14, raised approximately $375,000 for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Iowa. The 2021 show and subsequent sale broke the previous record by about $80,000. Friends of the Franklin County Cattlemen and the Foster and Evelyn Barkema Charitable Trust now hold records for the highest-selling steer in 2020 at a price of $27,000 and the third highest-selling steer in 2021 at a price of $30,500 for Patriot.

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Showing cattle is a family affair. Family members and sponsors who showed up to support Isabella Noelck at the 2021 Governor’s Charity Steer Show on August 14 include, from left to right: Rana Janes, Braden Hansen, Brent Hansen, Brian Hansen, Karli Hansen, Andrew Benning and Maggie Hougland with the Franklin County Cattlemen, Collin Borcherding, Is Noelck, Kristin Noelck, Dennis Vanness of the Foster and Evelyn Barkema Charitable Trust, Rep. Shannon Latham, Isabella Noelck, Reann Noelck and Issiah Noelck.

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Patriot was the third highest-selling steer in 2021 at a price of $30,500.

Patriot, owned by Isabella Noelck of Hampton, was selected for the Governor’s Charity Steer Show after the smoke crossbred was named Grand Champion Steer and Supreme Market Animal at the 2021 Franklin County Fair. He also competed in the Central Iowa Showdown.

“It was amazing to be a part of the Governor’s Charity Steer Show because it helps so many families and makes such a difference in their lives,” says Noelck, who is the daughter of Is and Kristin Noelck. Isabella will be a senior at Hampton-Dumont High School. She is a class officer and a Student Council member. She also has been active in Tall Corn FFA, volleyball, golf, and St. Peters UCC youth group. In addition, she instituted a kindness campaign in the middle school.

The youth exhibitors competing in the Governor’s Charity Steer Show are the cream of the crop. They’re used to making a difference in their communities, and they appreciate the opportunity to use their passion for showing cattle to help sick children and their families. (Click here for a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to prepare for the Governor’s Charity Steer Show.) 

Franklin County’s Contribution

The Iowa Beef Industry Council and the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association in 1983 joined forces with Gov. Terry Branstad and organized the Governor’s Charity Steer Show (GCSS). At the Governor’s request, the designated charity for the first-time event was the Ronald McDonald Houses of Iowa. Houses are now located in Des Moines, Iowa City and Sioux City. These facilities house the family members of seriously ill children being treated in area hospitals. Since its inception, the Governor’s Charity Steer Show has generated over $4.1 million – equivalent to more than 270,000 nights stays – in support of Iowa’s Ronald McDonald House chapters. During that same time, nearly 50,000 Iowa families have been served. Additionally, another 8,000 families coming from all 50 states and more than 60 foreign countries have used the Iowa facilities.

“The Governor’s Charity Steer Show is a great way to give to a great cause while promoting the beef industry,” says Andrew Benning, who coordinates fundraising for the steer on behalf of the Franklin County Cattlemen. “Franklin County Cattlemen really appreciate all the support from the community and from the Foster and Evelyn Barkema Charitable Trust. Everyone has been great to work with over the years.”

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Shannon Latham and Isabella Noelck show Patriot at the 2021 Governor’s Charity Steer Show.

Foster and Evelyn Barkema set up a trust to support both charitable and educational contributions to public health and public services. The Foster and Evelyn Barkema Charitable Trust in 2015 made its first five-year pledge to the University of Iowa Hospital. That gave Franklin County Cattlemen the idea to inquire with board members for the trust about partnering for the Iowa Governor’s Charity Steer Show.

Ronald McDonald Houses and the families they support hold a special place in the heart of Dennis Vanness, who is a board member for the Foster and Evelyn Barkema Charitable Trust.

“We had a special needs child in the 60s. He had three surgeries at Mayo Clinic. Then we had him evaluated in Iowa City. They didn’t have a Ronald McDonald House then, so we had to scramble to find a place to stay,” says Vanness. “It’s a wonderful feeling knowing that we can help make a difference for families at the Ronald McDonald House.” 

Advocating from the Show Ring

I couldn’t agree more. It is a wonderful feeling to combine your passion for doing something you love while lending others a helping hand.

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Shannon Latham and Isabella Noelck show Patriot at the 2021 Governor’s Charity Steer Show.

Although I had never shown a steer before, I always have wanted to show one. I spent countless hours hanging out with my friends in the cattle barns at the Butler County Fair and at the Iowa State Fair. As a 10-year 4-H member and a former Iowa State 4-H Council member, I try to live the pledge by using my hands for a larger service “for my club, my community, my country, and my world.” I am passionate about advocating for agriculture and greatly appreciate the opportunity provided by Franklin County Cattlemen, the Barkema Charitable Trust and the Noelck family to advocate in the biggest ring in this state.

Showing livestock is definitely a family affair, and I greatly appreciate the Noelcks for welcoming me into their family on the day of the Governor’s Charity Steer Show. Today they’re sharing with us one of their favorite beef recipes.

Prime Rib on the Smoker


  • 5- to 8-pound prime rib roast
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon sea salt (or less)
  • 2 Tablespoon black pepper (coarse)
  • 1 Tablespoon thyme (dried or fresh)
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic
  • *Traeger Prime Rib Rub (to your liking)

If you don’t have Traeger Prime Rib Rub, consider adding these spices to the mix listed above:

  • 1 Tablespoon dried rosemary
  • 1 Tablespoon onion powder
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar


  1. Rub roast on all sides with olive oil.
  2. Combine spices in a bowl; rub the seasoning mixture evenly all over the prime rib.
  3. Wrap in Saran Wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  4. Remove prime rib from the refrigerator at least two hours before smoking to bring it to room temp.
  5. Remove Saran Wrap. Place roast bone side down on a pre-heated smoker.
  6. Smoke for 2 hours; then set smoker to 250 degrees and leave it on approximately 15 minutes per pound of meat. Check the internal temperature for consistent results.
  7. Pull off the roast when the internal temp reaches 120 degrees.
  8. Wrap in foil and a towel to keep heat in and let rest for an hour to allow juices to redistribute.
  9. Spoon Au Jus over the meat before serving. Enjoy!


Most of the rib roasts you see in grocery stores are NOT prime grade. Make sure you buy yours directly from a local beef producer or from a reputable butcher.