Miss American Angus

Esther McCabe - 2013 Miss American Angus

Catherine HarwardHappy Days from the great state of Kansas! Summer is in full swing, which means there are cows on green grass, crops to be harvested, hay to be cut, and lots of Angus friends to see! To get you caught up on the early spring events, here is a brief overview of my spring.

This spring I attended various sales such as the Gardiner Angus Sale in Ashland, Kansas, Belle Point Angus in Arkansas, and Briarwood Angus (Dr. Curtis and Ann Long) in Butler, Missouri. I also had the opportunity to tell about my role at a Kansas Livestock Association Meeting to local members and guests. My absolute FAVORITE event during the spring was when I visited a local first grade classroom and we discussed the by-products of cattle. It is amazing how much information kids can retain when ice cream is the prize!

The month of April was full of school events, sales, and going to the National Western Angus Futurity in Reno, Nevada. Even though my flight there was continuously delayed, it was definitely worth the trip! My chaperone for the trip, Anne Lampe, was awesome and had me try sushi for my first time ever (it really isn't that bad!). While I was there, I had the opportunity to help select the new Western States Angus Queen, who is pretty awesome and helped me the rest of the time I was there.

May came, school ended, and the next week I was on a plane with my mom and my sister Hannah going to Maryland for Atlantic Nationals. We traveled to the Inner Harbor, tried the ever-famous "Crab cakes" (if you have never had them, hop on a plane and try them in Maryland…seriously!), and we even went to the aquarium. This is at the top of my list of the best places I have ever traveled. Oh and about the real reason I went… The show was incredible, I felt right at home the entire time I was there! The show ring was the prettiest I have ever seen and I don't think any show will ever be able to top it!

The All American Breeders Futurity came what seemed like just a few short days after Eastern Regionals. My brother Ethan and I packed our bags and made the drive to Louisville, Kentucky. This was another first for me to attend. Ernie and Linda Bingman, Anne Patton Schubert, and the Satree family took me under their wings for the entire show to make sure I was very well taken care of.

The next outing was to Eastern Regionals in Harrisonburg, Virginia. This time the planes all ran smoothly. However getting my dad through security at the airport is another story! (He forgot to leave his pocketknife and lighter at home…oops!) During the Queens Tea, we heard from a lady by the name of Stephanie Copeland. She claimed the title of Miss Wheelchair Virginia in 2012. Stephanie shared her story with us and many words of inspiration to leave us with. We had the opportunity to tour the historic Wehrmann Angus that was absolutely incredible.

The National Junior Angus Show just happened to fall in my backyard this year in Kansas City, Missouri. My mom and Ashley Hoff attend the Queens Brunch with me. The ladies who out it on out did themselves with the entire event on The Plaza! The week flew by but I met so many great girls during time there and made friendships that will last a lifetime. I learned more from the girls that I had the opportunity to meet than I ever thought I could learn in just a few days. Each one of them brought something new to the mix and it was great J!

Even though I only have four short months left, they will be full of exciting events such as LEAD, the National Angus Conference and Tour, shows, sales, and of course starting school at K-State! This has truly been a once in a lifetime experience and I love every minute of it! I cannot say thank you enough to everyone who has been there to assist me throughout my journey this year thus far.

look forward to seeing you at a future Angus event and good luck with this upcoming fall!

Will the Circle Be Unbroken
Let's take a step back in time to 1951. Lucille Ball and Arthur Godfrey were the television celebrities of the day. The average home cost $9,000 and the average income was $3,500. However, maybe more important to all of us here today is the fact that the American Angus Association issued the very first junior membership in 1951.

Of course, at that time, there was not a Junior Activities Department and certainly not a National Junior Angus Show or LEAD (Leaders Engaged in Angus Development) conference for these new members to attend; but for a $5 membership, these juniors were allowed to own and transfer cattle into their name just like members of the regular American Angus Association.

Since that first membership, nearly 80,000 have been issued. To put that into perspective, that is enough people to fill two average-sized football stadiums! Even without the advantages and opportunities that come with belonging to the National Junior Angus Association (NJAA), which we often take for granted today, these juniors would have the hands-on experience and education to be ambassadors for the beef industry regardless of the profession or vocation that they chose.

Collective Responsibility
As we bring this same principle into modern times, the possibilities and opportunities are much more exciting. Thankfully, the American Angus Association viewed their collective responsibility to the junior Angus program and more opportunities were added. In addition to the showring, today we learn Angus history, animal science and agricultural facts to compete in quiz bowls. We stand up in front of adults who are the leaders of our breed and are very successful in their own lives to give speeches and sales talks. We have experience with real life events from interviews and résumés to how to prepare different cuts of meat to their full potential. We see the results of carcass evaluations and how they are relevant to the industry. We also make friends with people from all over the country and have the opportunity to know some of the most successful people in the Angus breed.

From the age of 9 throughout our teenage years, we stay in high gear looking forward to the next event and how we can be more involved. Then the sun comes up one morning, just like any other day, but a major change takes place. Because of our 21st birthday, we can no longer participate in the junior program. But because of the junior program, we are armed to go forward into whatever our chosen field may be.

Proverbs 22:6 says, "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it." This means that the values, morals, core beliefs and knowledge that we gain when we are young will carry us forward. Throughout the junior Angus experience, we are preparing for our future and the challenges that it will bring to utilize our collective responsibility in everyday life.

Sustained Opportunities
Just think of the doctor in New York City or the lawyer in Los Angeles who went through the junior Angus program experience, and how different their circle of acquaintances would be from most of us in telling their beef story or defending the industry from inaccurate accusations from media or welfare groups. Former South African President Nelson Mandela, who is considered to be one of the most influential statesmen of all time, is quoted as saying, "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."

How about the incredible influence a schoolteacher could have on a classroom after going through the junior program? What a ripple effect might that teacher have in the span of his or her career?

We are blessed to have the largest, most progressive beef breed association in the world, coupled with the strength of Angus Productions Inc., Angus Genetics Inc., and Certified Angus Beef LLC (CAB). In addition, we have the American Angus Auxiliary and the Angus Foundation who have made available incredible scholarships to help many of us prepare for our future. One gets the feeling that when you are involved with "Team Angus," you are only limited by your dreams. Each one of these entities plays a critical part in the ultimate success of the breed.

Albert Einstein once said, "One should never expect to take more from life than they are willing to give." I believe it is our collective responsibility to make sure this incredible experience can continue for generations to come and that they are prepared for the challenges they will face. Each one of us in this have benefited in some way from the junior program.

I seriously doubt when the first American Angus Association junior membership was issued in 1951, anyone could have predicted the influence that decision would eventually have across our nation and even around the world. Many of our lives here today would be very different without the National Junior Angus Association and the programs that support it.

I am proud to be from a very small town in southeast Kansas that is full of the salt-of-the-earth kind of people who would do anything they could for someone. I will have lifelong friends from my hometown. However, because of the National Junior Angus Association, I have a much larger circle.

have had the privilege to travel from California to Pennsylvania, and from Wisconsin to Georgia. I have had the opportunity to stand in front of an audience and speak about our industry. I have also received significant financial support to further my education. All of this and much more have been provided by my involvement in the National Junior Angus Association.

One of my favorite quotes is by Abraham Lincoln, but it is so simple, it almost seems childish: "Whatever you are, be a good one." Whatever that may be in my case, I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the National Junior Angus Association to do my part in our collective responsibility.