Wow! Where did the summer go? I can't believe everyone is back to the books and in the school routine. I don't even know where to start explaining about the amazing summer I have had. It was definitely busy and well traveled, but one I wouldn't trade for anything. I can't believe in a few months there will be a new Miss American Angus crowned. My reign has flown by and by far has been the best experience of my life!
At the end of school last year I traveled to Reno, NV for the Western National Angus Futurity. I actually was there right before exams started, and as soon as I got back to South Carolina I drove to school and took an exam to complete my semester. This was my first time in Nevada, and was one of the most interesting places I went. I also got to participate in the "Raising the Bar" and really enjoyed meeting many new juniors from the West. I'd like to thank Mrs. Laurie Van Roekel for putting on the Western States Queen contest. It was great meeting all the girls, and a special congrats goes to Michelle Malson for receiving that title. Also, thanks to Bethany Cobb and Brianna Taylor for helping in the ring. Of course the regional managers and NJAA board were great help, and I can't forget the amazing Shelia and Robin. Thanks for help making my job much easier! I'd also like to congratulate the Creamer family for receiving the herdsman's award! My mom and I even got to sneak off one day and go to Lake Tahoe. There are no words to explain the beauty of that place!
As school got out, I knew things wouldn't slow down one bit for me. My reign was half way over but I knew there was a lot of work to come for the summer. I first traveled to Timonium, MD for the Atlantic National Show. I had never been to this show and had always heard it was a great family-oriented show. I wasn't disappointed. Mr. Harry Bauchman did a great job of organizing this show and making the ring look better than any I'd ever seen. I also attended the Queen's luncheon and shared with the girls that it's always important to be prepared but also be flexible. I shared with them some of the experiences of my reign and some of the unexpected things that happened to me along the way. I really appreciate the sponsors for this event and Courtney Hill-Dukehart for organizing everything. The show was great and everyone was very hospitable and welcoming.
In June, I traveled to Bloomington, IL for the Eastern Regional Show. "Get Your Kicks on Route 66" was a great show and thanks to the Illinois juniors, parents, and advisors for all their hard work. I attended the queen's luncheon where I spoke to the girls about the importance of staying focused, being flexible, friends and family, and their future. It was fun having some fellow South Carolinians at this show and handing them a few ribbons throughout the show.
Attending the National Junior Angus Show in Denver, CO was a great week and a great experience as Miss American Angus. I flew with my mother, brothers, and our good friend Cory Watt to the Rockies and we all knew it was going to be a good week with friends. Our queen's reception was at an old mansion in Denver and was just beautiful. I spoke to the girls about my experiences as Miss American Angus and about how my "dream of being a princess" came true. I had the opportunity to be a voting delegate for the NJAA board of directors and all the candidates really did a great job. It was great meeting all of them and congratulations to the "New 6". I also competed in the team sales and quiz bowl contests with my brothers and Cory. During the show, I had some lovely help in the ring. I don't know what I would have done without the state queens' help. Thanks to all of you, regional managers, NJAA board, Robin, Shelia, and other Association staff. I wouldn't have been able to do it without you. "Rush to the Rockies" was an experience of a lifetime and was even more special as Miss American Angus.
A week before school started I went to Nashville, TN to the LEAD conference with my brother, Drake, and Cory Watt. We really were "live and loud" and had an awesome week with friends. I really enjoyed getting to meet new people and visiting with old friends. Thanks to all the Tennessee members, Robin Ruff, and Junior Board that helped put this great event on! As school is underway, I know time will fly until NAILE. It's seems crazy to think that my reign is almost complete and there will be a new queen in a few months. I have meet all the contestants for this year's contest and wish them all the best of luck. This has truly been an experience of a lifetime and I look forward to my last few months as Miss American Angus. Thanks to my family, Auxiliary members, Association staff, my state, and many juniors for all their support!
~ Sally Yon
South Carolina! It's hard to believe this winter has been such a cold one in the South and I'm definitely looking forward to Spring! My schedule has been a busy one so far and as Miss American Angus I have had the opportunity to participate in many activities. As soon as I got back from Louisville, everyone was curious about my title and my duties for the next year. This was a great opportunity to share my story about the Angus industry and what I would be doing to promote the breed.
After Christmas break, most everyone was on their way back to school, but I was on my way to Ohio. To begin my travels, and missing the first few days of classes at Clemson, I went to Wooster, Ohio for the Certified Angus Beef Building Blocks Seminar. This was a very educational and enjoyable trip, where I was able to meet new people and learn a lot about what Certified Angus Beef has to offer. The new junior board members also attended and it was great to have former junior board member, Kara Wilson a CAB employee show us around while we were there. Kara was actually my roommate at the first LEAD conference I attended!
The next week I was off to Denver where I would have a week full of activities. From banquets, sales, to shows, I stayed busy. It was interesting having my "Queen Father" (as I call him) help me carry my paraphernalia around. Even though it was a long week and my feet were killing me towards the end, I enjoyed every bit of it. I even had the opportunity to be "rescued" by the Denver Fire Department after getting stuck in the elevator on the 19th floor at my hotel, further adding to the memories. The regional managers, Shelia Stannard, junior board members, and state queens were great helping me during my first show as Miss American Angus and I really appreciate their kindness and help!
My next event was the Fort Worth Stock Show in Texas. The Texas Angus Association invited me to come to their big weekend, which was packed full of events. I was able to attend their annual banquet, state sales, and attend the junior's meeting. I had never been to Texas before this, and the saying is correct that "everything is bigger in Texas." I really appreciate the Texas members allowing me to come - it was a great experience. To top off this trip, my Mom and I had a little explaining to do to Fort Worth airport security after we forgot about buying a toy pink gun for a little friend at the stock show and stuffing it in our carry-on bag. Needless to say they were not amused when they saw it as it went through the x-ray machine. We had completely forgotten about it - until we saw the screening line stop and the serious expressions on their faces. Another "memory" for my reign as MAA.
After the three big events in January, my schedule wasn't quite as full and I was able to catch up on my schoolwork. I recently attended the South Carolina Futurity Sale and our Annual Banquet and this was the first time I was able to be recognized in my state as Miss American Angus. I really appreciate all the support my state has given me along the way.
This has been such a great experience and I'm looking forward to many events this Spring and Summer! Everyone has been so kind to me and I've enjoyed getting to meet so many new people. The members of the American Angus Auxiliary have been extremely supportive and I thank them for all they do!
Integrity and Me
Integrity. It is a powerful trait, and I submit to you, today, that you must Learn It, Earn It, then Live It! Since my early childhood I have seen this plaque on our office wall. It is closely aligned with one of the Codes of the West and reads:
When two people meet, An agreement made, The terms of the deal, The plans are laid. Each one gives their seal By the grip of their hand On their word of honor They take a stand. These days there are contracts All written out There in nothing To dispute about. But if a person won't stand On his word understood, A piece of paper Won'''t make it good.
As a youngster, I never gave this poem much thought. As a young adult, I am beginning to understand its significance in both business and in life. The late Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy's, attributed his success to a simple principle. He believed in being truthful and direct under any and all given circumstances, and in living by the golden rule - simply put, to treat others the way you want to be treated. I find this to be a solid definition of Integrity. So how do we achieve this elusive quality?
We must first LEARN IT and what a great hands-on experience we have in the Angus industry. Until beginning college this fall, every morning when I woke up and looked out my window and I have seen Angus cattle. Angus cattle have always been the source of my family's livelihood, and I have watched for many years, as my parents try to provide the ultimate in customer satisfaction, through selling only high quality breeding stock, painting a fair and accurate picture of the product, and then following up after the sale. I know firsthand, the importance of accurate reporting of performance data after turning in a 100+ birth weight on a bull calf from my pathfinder, a favorite former show heifer. The resulting high birth EPD made him a poor prospect for most of our bull customers, who place a high priority on calving ease and I saw my herd sire prospect become a steer. How painful it was for me to watch the $3000 picture I had painted in my mind, fade into a steer worth way less. However, no amount of money could restore the trust that would have been lost, had I turned in a weight which would have made him acceptable, and then caused a customer, loss of income due to calving difficulty, which I could have prevented. Showing heifers has also presented me with the temptation to think that maybe that heifer born on December 31 really wasn't found until January 2nd, thus putting her in a better position to place well. But I would have known and that would be enough. No blue ribbon is ever worth compromising your reputation. Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody's going to know whether you did it or not.
After we Learn It, we must EARN IT. A great example of earning integrity can be seen in our own, Certified Angus Beef brand. Since 1978 the CAB Brand has been committed to quality and producing a consistent product. Consumers don't care that over half a billion pounds of Certified Angus Beef is sold each year in over 30 countries around the world. They do care about a consistent, delicious eating experience each and every time they buy CAB, which is exactly what has earned the CAB brand the label of integrity that they enjoy today. This is what sets both products and people apart - when they can be depended upon to be or do what they say they are, time after time. As a young Angus breeder, I earn my integrity by being the same person every day, and not changing who I am, to suit the crowd I am with. Growing up as "the girl who showed cows" has given me a unique identity among my peers. I am happy to say I have never been anything less than delighted to talk about my experiences with cattle and didn't even mind when a group of friends, in good humor, coined me as their Champion Angus Heifer. I earned this nickname because I proudly wore a jacket to school, which was nicely embroidered with the message that I exhibited the Champion Angus Heifer at a livestock show. I agree with the principle that you should never separate the life you live from the words you speak. It is, in fact, hard for me to separate who I am, from Angus, because so much of what has shaped me into the person I am today was learned on an Angus farm. Showing our cattle to prospective customers, answering farm phone calls, being responsible for daily chores, winning and maybe even more importantly, losing in the show ring, and helping new juniors get started are all intertwined as experiences that are continually helping me EARN my integrity.
LEARN IT, EARN IT, then LIVE IT. Though I am only 18 years old, I know that I have the opportunity to influence for better or worse, those around me. An old Japanese proverb says "The reputation of a thousand years may be determined by the conduct of one hour." As a young Angus breeder, I recognize the importance of this statement. A tantrum in the show ring, gossiping about another junior, or creating strife in any organization are occurrences that are not easily erased. On the flip side, being a good winner or loser, taking on a leadership role, or giving encouraging words to the little girl in pigtails, dragging around a 1200 pound heifer at her first show, will stick. I have watched the Miss American Angus competition at Louisville every year, since I was that little girl in pigtails. What a great privilege Miss American Angus has to be a role model, spokesperson, and ambassador for the Angus Breed!
In a nutshell, integrity is doing the right thing, simply because it is the right thing to do. I'll close with this story about an old cabinet-maker, who was diligently working on the back of a fine cabinet, on a part that would, in all likelihood, be never seen. One of his co-workers said to him, "Why worry about that? No one will ever know." The old man simply said, "I'll know."
That, to me, defines integrity. My goal as a young Angus breeder is to continue to do my part to maintain our breeds' position as the leader of the beef industry, by modeling integrity, as I continue to LEARN IT, EARN IT, then LIVE IT.