It’s Not Just Another Cattle Show by Andrea Murray

I hope that this issue of the Gelbvieh World finds our members caught back up on rest and back to the normal routines of their daily lives. I am sure many of you are busy putting up hay and preparing to wean calves; the fruits of your last year’s labor. I would like to take this opportunity to extend a great thanks to the Junior Gelbvieh Association in Nebraska and the Gelbvieh Association in Nebraska for the time and hard work they devoted towards hosting an amazing and successful 2017 AGJA Big Red Junior Classic. I also want to thank our junior board for the commitment and devotion they put into not only Junior Classic, but also the junior program and its members. I would be remiss if I did not send my gratitude to the parents of our juniors that help make this program possible and devote countless hours at home and take time out of their own careers to further the skills and knowledge of their young Gelbvieh members. Congratulations to all our juniors for your rewards and successes, but more importantly for your hard work and dedication!

Junior Classic is a fun-filled six days that draws our junior members and their best cattle together. Classic is not just another cattle show; youth also compete in various contests to prepare them for their future both in our breed and the beef industry. Video, poster, graphic design, and sales talk contests encourage members to establish priceless promotional and marketing skills that they will use in their own operations and for the breed. Undoubtedly, the most dreaded contest is impromptu speaking. The abilities acquired in this contest will continue to reap benefits for our members no matter what career path they choose. Quiz bowl and skill-a-thon push junior members to be well versed in beef cattle, the beef industry, and specifically Gelbvieh and Balancer® facts and trivia, and rewards them for their wisdom. In team fitting they must work together and communicate to obtain a common goal. They must also be able to see their animal’s flaws or weakness and disguise them with craft and steady hands. Programs like mentor/protégé enable more experienced juniors to lead and form bonds by helping first or second time junior classic attendees negotiate the action-packed week. Through these contests our members learn hard work, dedication, and perseverance; all of which are traits to be admired of our upcoming leaders of tomorrow’s beef industry.

Classic for many juniors is centered around time spent with friends. Underneath these friendships they are forming their very own network of peers that will help them blaze new trails for themselves and Gelbvieh and Balancer cattle. They establish firm relationships with these peers and established breeders through social time. They also leave lasting impressions on contest and cattle show judges, as well as sponsors. As a parent, I have encouraged my boys to seek out someone new to participate in contests with and make new friends! The bonds they form at Classic are invaluable and will last them a lifetime.

I believe one of the true advantages we hold as a breed is our junior program and the individuals that comprise it. I would encourage and challenge all of us to reach out to our own young members and to those that are not yet members and find ways to inspire, help, lead, and guide them. It is imperative that we continue to keep our junior program and junior classic high on our priority list. Our juniors are a jewel and they are the precious future of our
Gelbvieh and Balancer cattle. Through their annual meeting, contests, and running their own programs as committee and board members, we are ultimately preparing them to be adult members. As I consider the successes that some of our past junior members have achieved, I cannot help but think we will be truly amazed by the accomplishments of our current and future junior members.