GRAND ISLAND - Despite a two-hour delay thanks to wind damages, the second of three days of Husker Harvest Days was host to thousands of farmers, students and spectators.
Many of them got the chance to check out Gage County’s go-to product, lawn mowers.
Bill Buscher, an Exmark Manufacturing representative from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is no stranger to the annual farm show and said the event always sees a high turnout.
“I come out here for the show and every year we’re in about the same spot,” Buscher said. “This show is always good, but this year has been even better. Attendance was down a little last year, but the interest level was up. It seemed like it was a little quieter, but the people coming through were shoppers. It always balances out pretty well.”
The Exmark tent didn’t see much damage from Tuesday night’s storm that pushed the show’s opening time to 10 a.m., but was missing a few things Wednesday morning.
“A couple flag poles fell over and we had a couple of tent poles that fell down,” Buscher said. “I had some of my Exmark seats blow away. It was nothing like some of the other booths had.”
Andy Donovan, of True Value Hardware in Kearney, was relieved Wednesday morning to find that his large supply of Husqvarna mowers and accessories were still standing.
“We’ve lost some price tags but nothing major,” Donovan said. “We take all the little stuff inside and take the tents down before we leave. The mowers are vulnerable out here so we were lucky they didn’t get hit.”
Husker Harvest Days, which ran from Sept. 14 through 16, is a way for businesses to showcase upcoming products. For the Exmark tent, the highlighted feature was accessibility and ease of maintenance.
“What we’re showcasing is that today’s farmer needs easy access underneath the mower, so we’re showing how easy it is to work under our product,” Buscher said. “People really respond to that.”
While Exmark demonstrated practicality, Donovan’s main showcase was size.
“We have some bigger commercial mowers this year that we’re showing,” Donovan said. “We’ve been out here for the last two years and the way it looks right now we’re going to be out here for more. We get a pretty good crowd.”
While selling product is the main goal, Buscher said sales aren’t the main focus of Husker Harvest Days. He’s there mainly for exposure purposes.
“It’s mostly an exposure show, but we do sell on the spot occasionally,” Buscher said. “They may take a unit right from here or the dealer might close the deal. If we have someone really interested in buying today, we turn them over to a dealer that’s helping us work the booth to close the deal.”
Buscher said setting up at Husker Harvest Days, which costs the company nearly $5,000 for three days, is far from cheap, but worth it for the exposure the company gets.
For the consumer on the fence about Exmark products, Buscher has two main points he makes in attempt to seal the deal.
“We’re the number one selling brand in the country of a mid-mount commercial zero-turn mower and we are the preferred brand of the landscaper,” Buscher said. “Those are two key facts that I like to share because we do very little advertising, so for us to be number one when there’s brands like John Deere that have huge advertising budgets when ours is really small in comparison, I think that says something.”