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story.lead_photo.caption Gov. Mike Parson shakes hands with Moniteau County residents Tuesday as he makes his way around Centennial Hall, the site of the Moniteau County Cattlemen's Association Dinner and Scholarship Night. Photo by Austin Hornbostel / California Democrat.

There was a special guest at the Moniteau County Cattlemen's Association Dinner and Scholarship Night — Gov. Mike Parson.

Parson attended the event Tuesday, where Moniteau County native Kenny Jones was honored with the Outstanding Cattlemen's Award. Parson and Jones are old friends, having previously served as sheriffs together.

Parson addressed the crowd gathered for the event, praising Missouri's farmers, especially those who were present for the evening on the Moniteau County Fairgrounds.

"I just truly believe these small towns, and our farmers across the state, are the heart and soul of what this state is," Parson said.

Jones, upon accepting his award, said he was honored to be present for the evening among friends. He said the way farmers work together is what helps him to do what he does.

"It's what we do here — we serve each other and we help each other," Jones said.

The evening played host to a steak dinner, a brief meeting to elect a pair of new officers for the upcoming year and a scholarship auction. Following the dinner, attendees participated in an auction featuring items donated by individuals and businesses from across the county. A total of $18,606.50 was raised to fund scholarships that will be awarded to students at schools located within Moniteau County in California, Tipton, Jamestown, Russellville and Eldon. The amount raised was around $1,000 more than last year's event.

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