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Witt a product of Rugby Ag

By Staff | Mar 11, 2014

My husband was thrilled to read a recent edition of the Pierce County Tribune and found the article about Larry Selland. He pointed out that there are a number of Rugby High School graduates that have made a mark on agriculture in the Rugby area, North Dakota and various parts of the United States.

Much of the success of these individuals in the field of agriculture can be traced back to the strong FFA chapter and Vocational Agriculture program that Rugby High School offered for many years. It all started with the leadership of longtime advisor Don Erickson. He was an icon in North Dakota FFA and at the National FFA Organization level.

My husband, Marvin Witt, was one of those young men that was a product of that great agriculture culture and FFA program in Rugby. Marvin graduated in 1968 and served as State FFA Secretary in 1968. Marvin graduated from NDSU in the Spring of 1972 in Agriculture Education. He reopened the Vocational Agriculture program in Beulah in 1972 and served in that position until January of 1977. Beulah had a successful run under Marvin Witt. The program started with 38 students and it had grown to over 150 students in 1977. The Beulah Chapter won state titles in Livestock, Meats, Dairy, Crops and Land Judging and two titles in Dairy Products. They were also a Gold National FFA Chapter.

In 1977, he assumed the position of Manager of the Red River Valley Fair in Fargo. In 1979, he oversaw the National High School Rodeo Finals held at the fairgrounds. One of the fondest memories of this time at the Red River Valley Fair was the development of the Big Iron Farm Show in 1980 with four other agriculture leaders in the Red River Valley. Marvin served Big Iron as its first manager and remained in that position until 1987.

Marvin was lured by the Georgia Department of Agriculture in 1987 to oversee the development of the New Georgia State Fair which today is known as the Georgia National Fair. The project included building a new facility and bringing many of the state 4-H and FFA programs to the show. In addition to managing the first state fair in 1980, he also managed the first Georgia National Stock Show in 1981. Marvin worked with National Livestock and Horse Associations to develop major shows to serve the southeastern part of the United States.

Marvin found the desire to move west in 1992 and joined one of the most prestigious National Livestock shows in the U.S., the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo. The NWSS would be his place of work for the next 22 years, serving in a variety of positions from horse show manager, to director of marketing and finishing his career as vice president of operations. Upon retiring last year, Marv has made his mark in animal agriculture. During his tenure the National Western Stock Show became the largest horse show in North America with over 13,000 entries. The livestock show had over 11,000 entries and hosted 26 national breed cattle sales. The National Western was recognized as one of the top PRCA rodeos in North America, the first show to partner with the PBR, (Professional Bull Riders) and the first show to produce a Mexican Rodeo and Extravaganza.

In December, Marvin completed his three-year term on the IAFE (International Association of Fairs and Exhibitions). He represented the western region which included the states of California, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, Hawaii, New Mexico and Colorado.

Jodie Witt,

Mead, Colo.

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