It was a gray, drizzling, and fairly muddy Sunday afternoon when Governors from four different states come together for the Nebraska Steak Fry in Fort Calhoun — Kim Reynolds from Iowa, Eric Holcomb from Indiana, Greg Abbott from Texas and (of course) Nebraska’s own Pete Ricketts. The event was held at Neale Farms with a fairly good turnout, despite the weather (around 400 people). A band played country music as guests kept dry under the tent and under the long awning of the barn as we waited for the festivities to start. The event was a fundraiser for Ricketts’ re-election campaign, but I still got to shake hands with all the VIPs, including the patriarch of the Ricketts family, Joe Ricketts.
We had a brief presentation with the Color Guard before dishing up our steak dinners. John Orr (son of former Gov. Kay Orr) was the emcee and kicked things off before the Governors all got to speak. They all gave fairly standard conservative stump speeches, all with kind words about Gov. Ricketts, but Abbott seemed to hit all the hot buttons. My dad came with me to the event and said he was like “a fiery Southern Baptist Preacher.” I managed to embarrass myself when I bumped into Gov. Holcomb in line for coffee and didn’t even recognize him. I mistook him for local politician Dan Frei and even asked his name when I couldn’t figure out why he looked so familiar. (I figured it out later when Gov. Ricketts introduced everyone).
I didn’t get any photos with the VIPs themselves, but my friend Mason the Button Boy did, getting snapshots with just about everyone and scoring a new challenge coin from Gov. Abbott.