Organizers hope that safety becomes second nature for the students who attended Thursday’s Progressive Agriculture Safety Day at the Scotts Bluff County Fairgrounds.

Nearly 120 third-, fourth- and fifth-graders from Mitchell Elementary School, Community Christian School and St. Agnes Catholic School attended the event.

“The main reason for this is to keep kids safe,” John Dillman said, regional sales manager at Betaseed. “We want to help eliminate injuries and deaths.”

Students went from station to station learning about a variety of topics from sun safety to being careful around grain bins.

In a demonstration of power take-off equipment, students watched as “Balloon Bob” — a sack of balloons, and stuffing meant to represent a person — got sucked into a drive shaft.

“Oh, no! Balloon Bob!” one student said, shocked by how fast he was pulled into the equipment.

Gaelen Lane of HorizonWest Inc. told students that the drive shaft could spin at 1,000 RPMs.

“There’s no way a human can react to that,” Lane said. “You could lose your arm, your leg or even your life.”

Students also reacted strongly to a demonstration by officer Brian Buxbaum of the Nebraska State Patrol.

Buxbaum rolled down the windows of the rollover simulator and the students’ eyes widened as they watched a dummy fly out the window.

“Always wear your seat belt,” Buxbaum told them. “Even if you’re just going to the store that’s a block away.”

Jordan McBride of the Gering Police Department told students about the dangers of drugs and what to look out for.

“They’re really curious at that age,” McBride said. “We find meth and paraphernalia in public places and it’s important they recognize what not to mess with.”

According Dillman, the event is in it’s ninth year.

Betaseed partners with the Scottsbluff/Gering United Chamber Agribusiness Committee to put on the event. While Betaseed is the main sponsor of the event, Dillman said more than 40 other local businesses and organizations donated money, the use of equipment or time to the event.

Twenty volunteers and 11 Scottsbluff High School FFA students helped ensure the event ran smoothly.

Every child left with a goody bag that included a bicycle helmet, first aid kit, water bottle, sunglasses and safety tips.

“The community is highly supportive,” Dillman said. “We couldn’t do this without them.”

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Kamie Stephen is a reporter with the Star-Herald. She can be reached at 308-632-9041 or via email at

Kamie Stephen is a reporter with the Star-Herald. She can be reached at 308-632-9041 or via email at

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