Six local semifinalists named for 2024 Hormel Competition

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

McCOOK, Neb. Six local semifinalists have been named for the 2024 Hormel Entrepreneurship Competition. Those still in the running for up to $25,000 to start up or expand an existing business include applicants from McCook, Indianola, Imperial and Champion. This year all the competitors are looking to expand existing businesses. Final presentations will be made April 19.

Semifinalists include: Frank Bonini, McCook, Heartland Flags; Mayson Tyerman, Imperial, Tyerman Turf Care; Kristine Stritt, Bartley, Country Chill (McCook); Kelsey Owens, Champion, Champion Grass Fed Beef; Emily Young, McCook, Elevate Wellness, LLC; and Rodney and Kristeena Brittain, Indianola, RPK Sprinklers and Lawncare.

This competition runs every other year and residents in seven southwest Nebraska Counties are eligible: Furnas, Frontier, Red Willow, Hayes, Hitchcock, Chase and Dundy counties.

After completing the application process in time for the Nov. 1 deadline, semifinalists were selected to attend mandatory orientation Nov. 30. They all also received scholarships to attend the mandatory eight-week, online Entrepreneurship Business Plan writing class offered by Mid-Plains Community College. The McCook College Foundation paid for tuition and BCE covered book costs. In that class, applicants evaluated their business concepts, created a business plan, applied research data, prepared financial projections and evaluate various resources available for funding.

Here is a brief description of the semifinalists:

Heartland Flags, 1108 E. Fifth, McCook (Frank Bonini), business expansion: Specializes in custom wood flags and concealment cases as well as a variety of customizable produces including canvas, slate and anodized metal. He began using computers to help create tangible products and that grew into a business in 2022. He is looking to expand the business with an online presence including equipment, technology and support to help the business grow.

Tyerman Turf Care, 538 W. Fifth, Imperial (Mason Tyerman), business expansion: This is a multi-service lawn and landscaping company that does mowing, edging, small tree, branch and hedge trimming and aeration. It started with three regular mowing customers in 2019 and has expanded to 70 customers. He is looking to build a shop and expand to Grant and purchase or finance a new zero-turn mower, trailer and an additional mower and trimmer.

Country Chill, 114 East C, McCook (Kristine Stritt), business expansion: Established by Kristine and Gabe Stritt in 2023 as a specialized business offering cryotherapy then diversified to include an oxygen bar, compression therapy, salt cave, sauna and cold-plunge tub. They want to expand business and services to include a Styku scanner to assess health risks and a mobile trailer to offer services in an expanded area.

Champion Grass Fed Beef, 32547 733 Road, Champion (Kelsey Owens), business expansion: From a herd of three in 2014 Kelsey and Matt purchase high-quality America Aberdeen (Lowline Angus) and expanded to buy land and 23 more cows and two bulls in 2019. Two years later, they added free range chickens through a partnership of their oldest daughter, Peyton, and her FFA project, Flock Yeah Free-Range Poultry. They would like to add a certified kitchen, walk-in coolers and equipment to add free-range turkeys, with the goal of becoming USDA inspected.

Elevate Wellness, LLC, 801 West C, Suite 3, McCook (Emily Young), business expansion: Elevate Wellness, LLC is a healthcare and wellness clinic with 11 employees providing primarily physical therapy with contracted services for medical care, personal training, health coaching, yoga, chiropractic, speech and occupational therapy and message therapy. Elevate Wellness, LLC is looking to expand opportunities to create a community that elevate the standards of life and healthcare for patients and providers.

RPK Sprinklers and Lawncare, 320 N. Third, Indianola (Rodney and Kristeena Brittain), business expansion. This family-owned and operated business is a full-service underground sprinkler, yard management and snow removal company for residential and commercial properties. After a year as a fully registered company, they are looking to expand the number of employees and purchase addition equipment and inventory.

These six semifinalists submitted their business in March and a panel of judges will select finalists to present their business plans and make presentations April 19.

The main objective of the Hormel Entrepreneurship Competition at McCook Community College is to stimulate entrepreneurship and support business expansion in Southwest Nebraska.

In the three previous competitions, almost 60 applicants have applied, with 40 chosen as semi-finalists and 20 finalists selected to present their plan to judges and receive $1,500 to $18,000 in prize money for their ventures.

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