BOONE - Brenda Main Vrbk's first Farm Progress Show was in 1962. She was 5.
Since then she's attended just two other shows - one in the 1980s at Amana and the second on Wednesday in rural Boone.
"Fifty years just sounded like a good time to go again," Vrbk, of Pocahontas, said Wednesday.
BRENDA VRBK STANDS outside the Wallace’s Farmer tent at the Farm Progress Show. Fifty years ago, as a 5-year-old, Vrbk was a model for children’s clothing at the 1962 Farm Progress Show. She’s holding a picture of herself that appeared in the magazine following the show.
In 1962, Brenda Main, who lived in Ellsworth, was selected to model a dress for a fashion show during the 1962 show, held in Blairsburg. "I don't know how I got selected," she said. Another girl was initially tapped out to do the dress modeling, but, Vrbk said, "she had a sudden growth spurt and I was second on the list.
"That was my three-day modeling career."
Vrbk added, "We're good friends, but she never let me forget that all the way through high school."
On Wednesday, she wore a gold-colored double-leaf broach, a piece of costume jewelry that was given to each of the child models. It's one of her only mementos of the 1962 show, other than a black and white photo of her and friend, Lisa Danielson, wearing the clothes they modeled.
Vrbk said she didn't get a chance to look around the 1962 Farm Progress Show, probably so the dress she modeled all three days wouldn't get dirty.
"But you can't just turn a 5-year-old loose at the Farm Progress Show," she said. "We couldn't go anywhere unless we had someone older go with us."
Despite the limited freedom, she was able to "skip three days of school and ice cream is so much better than milk."
Her first stop Wednesday was at the Iowa State University farm education tent.
"I have to check up on them, since we've spent so much money with them," Vrbk said. Her family has earned five degrees from ISU and is working on a sixth.
After four hours wandering the grounds, Vrbk said she realized that there were many women at the show, but there wasn't much specifically for women. She toured the rural living tent, listened to live music, but noticed that the fashion shows and the runways were no longer a presence here.
"It's changed a lot," Vrbk said. "It's bigger and better facilities, but it's hard core ag."
"Yeah, it's a man's world," said LeeAnn Carlson, Vrbk's 48-year-old sister.
Nineteen sixty-two was not Vrbk's only encounter with the media. In 2001, as office manager for Pocahontas Ford Lincoln, she appeared in Time magazine in a Ford advertisement.
Although she was not overwhelmed by the Farm Progress Show, she said she was glad she attended.
"It was a change of pace."
"We'll come back in another 50 years and see if it'll be better," Carlson said.