Miss American Angus

Danielle Foster - 2008 Miss American Angus

Power of One Rethought
Last year the five ladies vying for the title of Miss American Angus spoke on the meaning of the Power of One to them. To me power was a compilation of Perseverance - Opportunity - Well Roundedness - Enthusiasm - and Representative. Over the year as Miss American Angus my personal idea of the power of one has expanded.

P not only represents perseverance but now also perspective. I have always lived for Angus cattle and Angus shows, but a year as Miss American Angus gave me a whole new perspective. I learned that the people behind the scenes truly make it happen, regional managers, association leaders, the junior board, auxiliary officers, and numerous volunteers have been the most amazing people to spend the year with. Now more than ever I realize the amazing people within the association. After Atlantic Nationals I was able to help tear down the backdrop and pack everything away, helping with that was a new perspective to all of the effort put into these shows.

O is not only opportunity but now also Open-mindedness. Jumping on the back of a donkey and riding it around the Eastern Regional show ring. Or grabbing a baton and trying out my skills at the National Junior Angus Show queens' tea. I definitely stepped out of my comfort zone throughout the year, but looking back, those memories are phenomenal.

W not only signifies well-roundedness but now also whirlwind. The year flew by and it flew by fast. I never imagined having this opportunity and once I did it went by so quickly. Every moment was enjoyed and every moment will be remembered and treasured.

E is not only enthusiasm but now experience. Everything from visiting the Michigan State Capital to meet with senators, to appearing on a nationally-syndicated television show, "This Week in Agribusiness" with Orion Samuelson and Max Armstrong. The experiences have truly been incredible!

R is not only representative but rewarding. As I sat in the ring in Reno, a little girl came and sat next to me and for some reason she had her bling belt on over her shoulder, much like a sash. This little girl became my biggest fan and as we sat together through the sale she told me all about how she is going to be Miss American Angus someday. When I had a chance to visit a pre-school I was introduced as "a real-life princess" by a little girl, in my mind they were the princesses. At Nationals I had the opportunity to meet many amazing children, especially a young lady named Hannah from Georgia. These "little eyes" that have been watching me all year have truly been the most rewarding experience. They are the future power behind our association.

The year has truly been a blessing. I cannot thank the auxiliary, the association, the foundation, and Certified Angus Beef enough for all the support, both financial and non-financial. I cannot express how grateful I am to have worked with such an amazing Miss American Angus committee; Mary, Emily, Jill, and Ginger, you ladies do so much amazing work and I really appreciate everything. Finally, I cannot thank my family enough. Grandma Lois, Grandpa Dale, Grandma Joyce, Grandpa Roy, Uncle Bruce, and Aunt Nece thanks for being my own little fan-club. Andrew, thanks for being the best and most supportive brother ever, I know you were as proud of me to wear the red jacket as I was of you wearing the green jacket. Dad, really the words escape me on how to thank-you but thanks for being such an amazing dad over the year putting up with everything and making sure I knew how amazing a job I was doing and doing all the little things, even holding jacket, banner, skirt, shoes, and yes even the crown; keeping your hands full whenever need be. Mom, thanks for doing all the traveling, all the shopping, all the award set-up, the entire food finding, all the speech listening, all the last-minute packing, and most importantly all of the supporting. Thank you for all you do.

I learned the power of one person who's willing to embrace all the opportunities given to her by such an amazing association. As I reflect on my year a quote by Maya Angelou stands out in my mind as something I hope I've achieved. She states, "I've learned that I still have a lot to learn.' 'I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

I hope a memory of my year as Miss American Angus will live on in each of your minds. I hope I've made you all feel as wonderful as you've made me feel. I know the memories of this amazing year will forever live on in my mind. Thank you once again for such an incredible year.

My Summer As Miss American Angus
Summer sure is flying by. Soon we will be putting away our duffel bags and registration books and getting out our backpacks and textbooks. My summer has been filled with amazing memories.

The month of May was filled with exciting opportunities! We (Andrew, Mom, Grandmas, and Nancy Thelen) went up to the state capital, where we were introduced on the senate floor. Following their session we went into the caucus room and met with many of the senators and handed out delicious Certified Angus Beef steak strips and packets of information. This was a wonderful opportunity that all of you could probably experience, if you just contact your senator.

At the end of May we went into Chicago for a day I will never forget. We went to the set of "This Week in Agribusiness" with Orion Samuelson and Max Armstrong. I met with Orion and Max, and watched them tape the majority of their show. Then, the fun began when I stepped on set and did an interview with them! We had such a wonderful time!

The next day mom and I boarded a plane and headed out to Maryland for the Atlantic National. Once again it was a beautiful show! It is such a different experience when attending these shows as Miss American Angus. The queen's reception was a wonderful time and I was so excited to meet a large number of state royalty. Thank you to all the ladies who helped throughout the weekend, I truly could not have done it without you. Thank you to Harry Bachman for organizing such an amazing show and doing all you could do to help me and support me. I definitely appreciate it.

My next event was the Ohio Preview Show. My dad was asked to judge and there was no better opportunity to go to Ohio with him. Thank you to everyone for being so kind and welcoming. We had a wonderful time! That evening we went straight up to Lansing for the Michigan Preview Show. I can not express my gratitude for all of the love and support everyone has shown me. It is truly an honor to represent such an amazing state!

Up next was the Eastern Regional Junior Angus Show. Dad, mom, and I packed up the car and drove the distance for an amazing show. Thank you to all the West Virginia juniors, parents, and advisors for putting on such an amazing show. Thank you to Dr. and Mrs. Fort for having us out to their beautiful home for our queen's reception. We had a wonderful time and as a Michigan girl I'm not used to those beautiful "hills" as you all call them. The show went great and once again I appreciate all of the assistance I received from the state royalty, especially Miss Haley Meadows, the Virginia Angus Princess, for helping me all day every day. You are a remarkable young lady. The highlight of the weekend, which I am sure many of you heard about, was the donkey races. I faced my fears and jumped on top of an animal, which we were warned would go fast and try to buck you off either forwards or backwards. Well, they were right with the warning. I made it around the ring, screaming the whole time, but as hard as my donkey tried to tip me off, I stayed on, and to top it off, I finished fourth in my heat! Woohoo! That was honestly the funniest thing and it was so wonderful to see absolutely everyone at least watching and many participating. But let me assure you, there is no Miss American Donkey in my future!

Attending the National Junior Angus Show as Miss American Angus was an incredible experience. Our queen's reception at the botanical center was lovely and a very enjoyable afternoon. Thank you to Angie and committee for organizing it. I must admit the baton twirling at the queen's reception was similar to the donkey racing. It did not go smoothly, but I did it! Being recognized by everyone as "Miss America" was extremely special; especially when it was the younger girls who recognized me and told me of their dreams to become Miss American Angus. The annual meeting was wonderful, all of the candidates did a wonderful job, congratulations to the "new 6." The show went smoothly and all awards made it into the hands of the rightful owner. I cannot even begin to thank all of the people who made my week so amazing. I must thank the junior board for helping whenever needed and the American Angus Association for the financial and non-financial support they give. Shelia and James thanks for keeping me on my toes and providing reassurance that I was doing a good job, I appreciate all you both do. Thank you to all of the state royalty who assisted me in the ring, I really appreciate it, and hope you all had fun and made some lifelong friendships. Finally, I must thank all of the Michigan families for being so supportive and helping out when needed. I must especially thank the Vaassen family for all they do, listening to speeches, watching our cattle, and cracking jokes to see a smile, helped make our week go smoothly! All my Christmas wishes came true during "Christmas in July," in Iowa.

After a couple days recovery we were off to Louisville, Kentucky for the All-American Angus Breeders Futurity. We might have still been a bit tired but we had a wonderful time. Thank you to Ernie, Linda, Anne, and Tom for all the hard work you put into this show. As we left Louisville I suddenly realized the next time we were back there, my time as Miss American Angus would be over.

The final four months are sure to be exciting with LEAD, American Royal, fall sales, and of course NAILE. As summer comes to an end I hope you all have filled your hearts with memories! I definitely have! The funny thing is, we always think of summer as our break from school, our break from learning, our summer break, but this summer I learned more than I possibly imagined.

  1. A smile is truly contagious.
  2. Spending a moment with the little ones who look up to you will mean more than anything.
  3. Step out of your comfort zone, the donkey races and baton twirling definitely made me nervous but in the end it was worth it.
  4. Treasure the moments, because soon you will realize it is so close to over. I know my involvement in the NJAA will always continue but, in reality, I am two short years away from no longer being a junior.
  5. Thank those who make it possible. I could not do anything I have done without the support of my family, especially my parents and brother. "Thank you," and "I love you," are two important things to say after a crazy summer!

Good luck this fall everyone! I look forward to seeing you all at an upcoming Angus event.

Miss American Angus Travels
Greetings from the season-confused state of Michigan! There are 2 things my winter and early spring have consisted of, lots of snow and Angus cattle. Allow me to share the activities that have been keeping me occupied. When I returned from Louisville, the news had already spread and my peers and instructors were full of questions about what I won, how I won it, what I would be doing, etc. etc.

Immediately upon my return, many newspapers and magazines such as our local papers, the Michigan Cattleman magazine, the Farmer's Advance and Exchange, and our school paper published my story. These articles were great since they not only promoted the breed and got the word "Angus" out into the public, but they also encouraged people to ask questions. This provided me the opportunity to share my Angus knowledge with them.

I was incredibly honored when the President of Southwestern Michigan College and the Board of Trustees, asked that I attend their meeting to be recognized and speak a bit about what I will be doing over the year. It was very special, and thoughtful of them to recognize this accomplishment.

Next, I was off to Wooster, Ohio to the Certified Angus Beef headquarters. There I attended the Building Blocks for Success Seminar. The seminar was wonderful and not only did I learn so many things about Certified Angus Beef, but I also met and was reunited with many fabulous people. Thank you to the entire CAB staff for making the seminar so educational and so enjoyable.

After a wonderful Christmas with my family, I was on my way to Denver for the week's events. I arrived in Denver and attended the herdsman's banquet. I also had a great time at the Angus reception and the Foundation reception. Tuesday through Saturday were occupied with the shows. At the junior show on Tuesday, I believe I mastered the art of switching clothes in a matter of minutes and my dad mastered being the "official crown and clothes holder." Thank you to all the regional managers, James Fisher, Shelia Stannard, the junior board, and the queens who assisted me with the awards for all your help. Coming down with a cold made my eyes a bit blurry for the pictures, but all in all, the week was incredible!

My next event was the Michigan Beef Expo up in Lansing. This was my first time in my blazer, crown, and banner back in my home state. The highlight of the weekend was slapping the champion Angus as supreme champion for the open show, not a typical queen's duty. I am very proud to be from such a wonderful state with so many supportive people. Thank you to Nancy, Barb, Dr. Hawkins, Janel, Kris, and everyone else for all your help and support. It is going to be a great year for Michigan!

Our trip to Reno can be related to the movie, "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles." We experienced cancelled flights, a long drive, earthquakes, and flying through the night. The show was phenomenal though and everyone was so helpful and friendly. Friday, once we finally arrived, I was able to speak with the Western States Angus Queen girls and then that night I participated in the junior activities, which was so much fun! Saturday through Monday were busy with shows. On Sunday night my mom, brother, and I escaped up to Lake Tahoe; words cannot explain how beautiful it is. Thank you to Laurie VanRoekel, Elizabeth Gavette, Amanda Lewis, and Michelle Faulkner for all your help. Congratulations to Michelle on being crowned the new Western States Angus Queen. It was a pleasure spending the weekend with you ladies. Also, thank you to the junior board leadership team for making me feel like part of "your 6," I had an amazing time with you all.

We returned from Reno on Tuesday at 9 a.m. and by noon I was at school to take some finals. Once finals were over I had my first activity for May. I was invited to be a guest at a preschool in Granger, Indiana. As the young lady who invited me, introduced me as, "a real live princess." We talked about cattle, made cow puppets and cow bracelets, had a picnic, and played outside. They were full of questions and full of excitement! I had a wonderful time with them!

Upcoming events for Miss American Angus include a visit to the state capital to be recognized on the senate floor and meet with senators and representatives. I will have the opportunity to hand out information and tasty Certified Angus Beef steak strips. Following that, I will be traveling into Chicago to do a radio and television interview with Orion Samuelson. That will be incredibly exciting and a great opportunity to share the excitement of the Angus breed! All of the shows are quickly coming and going, so that will also keep me busy.

I wish I could thank all of the people who have helped me, but that would take a website on its own. So, right now I want to thank the entire staff at CAB again, especially for their continued assistance with upcoming events. Also, the MAA committee for all of their work; it is definitely appreciated.

Like many of you, my countdown to summer is in full swing. I cannot wait for the things that lie ahead this summer. The traveling, the shows, the rekindled friendships, and most importantly the memories that will be made! Best wishes for a beautiful spring. I will see you all soon at an upcoming Angus event!

The Power of One

The power of one lies within all of us. It is exhibited by our choices and actions in every moment of every day. We can either embrace the power with its infinite possibilities or become victim to a lack of courage and drive.

As we examine and utilize the power we each possess, we must remember the words of Albert Einstein. "Many times a day I realize how much my own outer and inner life is built upon the labors of my fellow men, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received."

We all have the power to impact the lives of others. The effortless act of kindness, such as a smile, will leave an impact unknown to size. The Power of One is the ability to be yourself while impacting those around you.

The distinct power I possess has been influenced by many different life experiences. I would like to take this time to share with you, exactly what power means to me. Power stands for Perseverance, Opportunity, Well-rounded, Enthusiasm, and Representative.

"P" equals Perseverance. It is the ability to overcome life's obstacles. At the age of 12, I was diagnosed with Polyarticular Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, an autoimmune disease causing joint swelling and stiffness along with other complications. Although this has limited most of my physical activity, I have not allowed it to stop me from showing. My cattle are my therapists, and even on my worst days-when my whole body aches-I seek refuge in working with my cattle. My cattle keep me going and reinforce my perseverance. My doctor always says, she is the only doctor in the clinic who has cow pictures on her patient bulletin board.

"O" stands for Opportunity. It is the possibility to use your power to achieve great things. The opportunities the Angus association has given each of us are irreplaceable. The adult and junior associations, auxiliary, and foundation not only give us the chance to exhibit our cattle, but also provide opportunities to learn and grow. This is done through educational contests and conferences. I have learned the facts of Certified Angus Beef through participating in the cook-off contest, as a supremette, cow, biker, newscaster, or other characters. Undoubtedly, my knowledge grew each time I competed. My dad can count on me to help sell our cattle with my experience in team sales, and I have practiced my public speaking skills through the public speaking contest. At this moment, I am very glad I did. I improved my creativity through the poster and photography contests, and I learned many things about leadership and the industry through the LEAD conferences. I have benefited greatly from all of these opportunities and I am grateful that we, as juniors, are provided with numerous personal growth and career success avenues. The number one opportunity we all possess is the ability to educate individuals about our industry. A recent article in the Angus Journal stated that many people either know nothing or are misinformed about our industry. It is our responsibility as producers to raise awareness. As the article said, we know the most. But if we don't educate the public, somebody will and we put accuracy at risk. Now is the time to seize all available opportunities.

"W" represents Well-Rounded. I am the woman you see here today because of the wonderful experiences I have enjoyed. I have excelled in academics maintaining a 4.0 GPA with advanced classes. In addition, I have served in various leadership positions including Michigan Junior Angus Association Director, treasurer and currently President. I was extremely fortunate to serve in a leadership position with Business Professionals of America, as state historian for the prestigious State Executive Council. I wore many shoes in high school as I served as a class officer, math team member, algebra tutor, and national honor society officer. With all of these activities, my favorite place to be STILL is the barn. This past summer, all the hard work we put into our cattle as a family reaped benefits when my brother and I were named Herdsmen of the Year at the All-American Angus Breeders Futurity. We were the youngest and first brother/sister duo to receive this award.

"E" is for Enthusiasm -. It is shown through a smile on your face when you're doing what you love. My family and I possess much enthusiasm for Angus cattle. It's not only the cattle we have a passion for, but also the industry. We not only go to shows to walk in the ring; we go to see the people, participate in events and expand our knowledge. All the while we are greatly enjoying ourselves. Nothing compares with the excitement of getting ready for a show. Spreading this excitement and enthusiasm to younger members will ensure the future success of the Angus industry. We must also show this enthusiasm when talking to those outside the industry because our enthusiasm will increase their confidence in our product.

"R" denotes Representative - I am a representative of my family, and my actions reflect on the ideals and principles which have been instilled in me. I also represent my community. I come from a small town in Southwest Michigan, and the support I have received through the years has been remarkable. I represent the various clubs I am a part of, and lastly, I represent the Angus associations. As a member, I have done my best to show the love and enthusiasm I have for Angus cattle.

The power I hold is represented by perseverance, opportunities, well-roundedness, enthusiasm, and all I represent.

Power is shown through our industry- The Angus industry. Since 1873 the growth of the industry has been continuous, not only in the number of cattle and members, but also in reputation and power. The power of the industry is presented through the Angus Advantage, which states, that high demand plus high-quality genetics and programs that transfer value from pasture to plate, give producers a product and the profit they desire. In order for the Angus Industry to possess its power, we as breeders must express our individual power - the power of one. Through expressing our power we will prove that Angus is the most powerful and best breed of beef!

Remember the Power of One; it only takes one hero to save the day, only one point to win the game, only one cow to win the show, and only one moment to change your life. I do not need to look any further than this moment to prove that one moment can change your life. It is wonderful to be one of the scholarship winners and have this opportunity to pursue this goal and dream.

I cannot wait to see how the industry continues to use their power and how each individual contributes. Remember, as one individual we can accomplish great things but as one industry the possibilities are endless.

Thank you.