Wow what an eventful summer! Looking back on the past few months has truly made me realize how blessed I am to have had an opportunity like Miss American Angus. I've traveled to new places, tried new food, met new people, and made some great new memories!
May started off with a bang! I was given a huge opportunity to appear on RFDtv as panelist on SureChamp Angus Hour. My first television appearance was so exciting and has actually led me to a recent job opportunity. Be looking for me every week on RFD as a co-host on The Angus Report! I couldn't have asked for a bigger opportunity.
But back to my trips...I kicked off the spring with a trip to Reno, NV. What an experience! This was my first trip to the show and it definitely lived up to my expectations. The hospitality was great and I had some awesome help in the ring throughout the weekend. Congrats to Miss Shane Kerner for being crowned the Western States Queen. Her help this summer was unbelievable! My mom, grandma and I also took the opportunity to visit Lake Tahoe, only pictures can explain its beauty!
As school quickly ended it was time for me to head to the other side of the country for the famous Atlantic National Show. This was another first for me. It was a weekend packed with activities. The queens luncheon was a great opportunity for me to meet new juniors as I took the time to speak to the girls about my trips thus far, the great opportunities I had been presented with as queen, and the support I receive from the Auxilary. Mom and I also took the time to try some seafood!
After Maryland summer really went into full swing. I took the time to hand out samples of beef at our local feed store, and attended our county fair and state preview shows. After that it was time to make my first trip to Louisiana! Now that was some southern hospitality! The show went smooth, the junior activities were a ball, and the Cajun food was well, a new experience! Amber Roussel hosted an outstanding queen's brunch where I once again explained to the girls how much the Auxiliary does for juniors and how great my reign has been. This show was definitely a highlight of my summer.
But I can't forget to mention the other highlight of my summer, the National Junior Angus Show! Flying to Pennsylvania was yet another first for me. It was fun to spend time at the show without cattle for once, but that didn't mean I wasn't busy! The week started off with a fun queens brunch where I talked to the girls about what defines a queen and the expectations others have for them. The days following that were spent talking to delegates and participating in multiple contests. Four days of shows was tiring! But watching my dad judge was an experience I will remember for the rest of my life! It was definitely one of my favorite nationals thus far.
But summer wasn't over there! My family and I worked hard to prepare our cattle for our district and state fairs the following weeks. After that it was off to another LEAD conference in St. Louis, MO. Although we didn't travel far, it was still a great time! Touring the Arch and the Cardinals Stadium were just a few of the fun activities at LEAD.
I didn't think my time as Miss American Angus would fly by quite as quickly as it has but with August almost over November isn't far away! It has truly been a life changing experience and I look forward to the last few months of my reign! I hope everyone enjoys a prosperous fall and I look forward to seeing you all in Louisville!
Sacks and bins full of cotton seed hulls, corn, and the special "Wallace mix" filled the feed room as I stood on my tippy toes, digging the full length of my arm into the feed sack. At a young age, scooping the feed for the show heifers was something I fought my brother for the chance to do. As I developed into my teenage years it became more of a hassle. Today, I miss it. Measuring out the right mixture for my heifers became routine for me. The hours spent scooping and trying different combinations of feed was always worth my time when I received that purple banner in the ring. Measuring the worth of something helps us determine its value in our lives. I chose three household tools to measure the worth of my life.
First, a ruler. I, like every young adult, have transitioned through many stages in my life, but it's the combination of those stages that makes me who I am. I was once the chunky kid with abnormally large cheeks. Then came the awkward stage of being the skinny girl with glasses and braces (each of these phases were welcomed by my father, of course). Eventually I became more comfortable with myself as I transitioned into high school. In fact, I can still remember my Grandpa asking me if I paid half price for those "used" holey jeans that were in style my freshman year. Although image is a big part of growing up, today I work to place more of my focus on measuring my self worth and who I truly am.
Just like me, the American Angus Association has grown throughout its 127-year history. And this breed's ability to measure its success has enabled it to grow and react to the challenges that are thrown its way. When George Grant brought four bulls to the United States in 1873, his cattle were considered "freaks", but if Grant hadn't realized the true value of his cattle and had listened to everyone else, the largest, most progressive breed in the country may have never developed into what it is today: a tradition that has gone the distance and withstood the test of time.
A Measuring Cup
The next item is a measuring cup. This tool can often be found in the drawers of almost any kitchen, as it is vital to the success of every level chef. On the other hand, I consider my cooking expertise to be geared more towards the assistance of a microwave, but from what my mother tells me, if you forget to include a cup of flour in your recipe, it can be disastrous to the morning's biscuits and gravy. In the same respect we need to measure out the ingredients in our life and recognize the importance of each. This previous summer my brother Sam was fortunate to receive Grand Champion Steer at the National Junior Angus Show. The time he spent adding to his "success measuring cup" every day meant that by the time the show came around, the volume of his efforts combined gave him the greatest advantage in the judge's eyes. His preparation proved to be the flour of his success.
We must not only measure the volume of our work, but we also need to take time to measure the volume of our decisions. The representatives of the National Junior Angus Association make many decisions that not only affect them, but the entire association. Junior Board members, Regional Managers and Junior Activities employees all hold responsibilities that require them to set a good example. In my lifetime I have had the privilege of experiencing the presence of four Miss American Angus Queens from Missouri. Each of these girls have evolved into a woman that I respect and I can honestly say that their encouragement and involvement in my life pushed me to have a passion for this organization. Knowing the volume of your decisions and how they will affect others is what truly makes a leader.
And finally, the third item is a scale. Weighing out our options is something we all do on a daily basis. Where is the cheapest gas, the best value on the feed we buy, or the amount of money we're willing to spend on that pair of boots we can't live without – at least in my case anyway. The fact is no matter what choice we have to make some are more important than others, but what needs to happen to truly make the best decision is to weigh out the pros and cons of each option.
Early this spring I faced a decision of where I would be attending school in the coming fall. The years of my high school career plan had always been to become a Missouri State FFA Officer. Yet, the fall of my senior year I was offered a scholarship to join the livestock judging team at Butler Community College. I had to weigh out the opportunities that each position offered, each of them leading me down a different path in life. Each option held different friends, different lifestyles, and different opportunities. It took me months, a number of conversations, and great amount of prayer to come to the decision that Butler was the place for me. I measured the worth of Butler and what it could do in my life.
Still, every day we make smaller, less life changing decisions. Consumers often face the decision of what meat to buy in the grocery store. They consider price, safety, and most of all, quality. Consumers have proven that Certified Angus Beef is worthy of their money as it continues to live up to its science-based specifications.
I'm always reminded of my younger years of scooping the feed to have the right amounts of ingredients that will combine to make the most effective mixes. Just like mixing feed, we find the right ways to weigh out our decisions and use the tools that give us the most productive outcomes in our lives. I think it's only human to try to measure one's own merit. But to me the bigger question is, can you ever truly measure your own self worth? Truth is, self worth can't be measured by inches on a ruler, ounces in a measuring cup, or pounds on a scale. I believe the lasting value of leaders is measured by the lives they touch. With the right tools and the mindset that we should "never settle&rdquot;, our worth to others will start to grow. That's when you become a leader and what a better place for the birth of leaders than the great breed we all call ourselves a part of – the Angus breed.