Everyone Likes ike
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Meet Ike – The Newest Member of the Kansas State Fair Family!

The Kansas State Fair celebrates all things Kansas and nothing represents our state more distinctly than the official state animal – the American bison! Meet Ike - the newest member of the Fair team. He is the ultimate Kansan and wants happiness and prosperity for our great state.

During the other 355 days of the year, don’t be surprised to find Ike sporting his Key overalls and helping staff keep the grounds maintained and mowed. Ike is sponsored by Key Industries, a Fort Scott, Kansas company that has been in operation since 1908.


KEY’S beginnings are rooted in Fort Scott, Kansas. The year was 1908, and the first product offered was a set of triple-stitched bib overalls. Over the course of the last century, KEY’s clothing line has expanded to accommodate the demands of the modern-day worker — whether the hard work is in the office or in the field.

Gov. Kelly proclaims Ike official Kansas State Fair Mascot!

Ike's Namesake -- Dwight D. Eisenhower

Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower gave a speech to U.S. paratroopers on June 5, 1944, the day before the invasion of Normandy. Thank you to the Eisenhower Foundation for loaning us their D-Day backdrop. . The Foundation uses the backdrop as a fun way to interact with history and spark conversation about the life and times of Dwight D. Eisenhower. The Kansas State Fair and Ike salute all our brave men and women who have fought and continue to fight for our freedom.

Ike is named after the 34th President of the United States - Dwight D. Eisenhower!

Early Years

Born on October 14, 1890, Dwight David Eisenhower spent his youth in the small farm town of Abilene, Kansas. Called “Ike” as a young man, he played football and other sports and graduated from Abilene High School in 1909. Eisenhower applied to West Point and was admitted in 1911.

Military Career

After graduation, Eisenhower received his commission as a second lieutenant. He married Mamie Geneva Doud on July 1, 1916 while he was stationed in Texas. They had two children. He served in the Panama Canal and Philippines in the 1920s and 1930s and graduated first in his class from the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth in 1926.

He was promoted to brigadier general in 1941. Eisenhower directed the allied invasions of North Africa, Sicily, and Italy from 1942 to 1943. In December 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed him Supreme Commander, Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force. In this capacity, Eisenhower was in charge of the planning and execution of the Normandy Invasion, which occurred June 6, 1944 and ultimately led to victory in Europe the following May.

In this iconic photo taken June 5, Eisenhower spoke to paratroopers in England, just before they boarded their airplanes to participate in the first assault of the invasion. At this particular moment, the future president is talking about fly fishing with Wally Strobel — (No. 23 - which coincidentally June 5 happened to be his birthday) — a hobby both men loved.

Eisenhower knew that at his command, many of these men were going to lose their lives in a matter of hours for the cause of our freedom and wanted a personal attachment to the bigger picture.

"He humanized the numbers under his command. Ike was proud to be known as 'a soldier’s soldier,'" said Mitzi Bankes Gose, Director of IKEducation with the Eisenhower Foundation. "We are certain that his humble Kansas upbringing gave him this character trait."

As President

Running on a campaign of “I Like Ike,” he was twice elected president. Serving from 1953 to 1961, Eisenhower presided during a post-war period of great prosperity for the nation.

On March 28, 1969, Eisenhower died at Washington's Walter Reed General Hospital. His body was returned to Abilene and buried at the Eisenhower Center.

For more information on Eisenhower or the Eisenhower Foundation, click here.
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