I know while reading this it feels like it’s been an eternity since we’ve all been at The Big Red Classic, and for those of you who were not in attendance, it was a fantastic week. June 25, 2017, junior members from across the nation gathered in Grand Island, Nebraska, for The AGJA Big Red Classic. The weather was fantastic and the facilities were above and beyond everyone’s high expectations. The Junior Gelbvieh Association in Nebraska and the Gelbvieh Association in Nebraska put in a lot of long hours and hard work to prepare for this event and on behalf of the entire organization, I would like to thank you once again! It was a great week of fantastic competition between members and time was spent fostering friendships and relationships once again that will last a lifetime. One of the things I spoke about throughout the week was the unique experience that our classic brings to our members each year. The competitions help hone the skills that are molding the future leaders of our cattle industry. As a younger member it’s easy to get overly concentrated on the prizes and coming in first, but it’s when you become an older member that you realize it’s so much bigger than that. Whether it be sales talk, where you utilize the skills it takes to market livestock in a real life scenario, or the judging contest where you have to make quick decisions and be able to defend them, these are valuable skills you’ll use for the rest of your life. Going into my last year in the association I’ve been able to see members older than myself take these skills and become leaders and innovators within the livestock industry and beyond.
Another reoccurring theme that was described throughout the week was the family atmosphere that is special to the Gelbvieh family and particularly junior nationals. Of the seven members that ran for spots on the junior board, we went a perfect seven out of seven running on the platform of unity and the goal of keeping the family atmosphere. This year the junior board released a strategic plan with four main points, which can be found on pages 18-20 of this edition of Gelbvieh World. Two of these points relate directly to junior nationals: increase educational opportunities for members and maintain the family atmosphere. It was fantastic to watch both of these goals be accomplished throughout the week in Grand Island and we hope to continue that into the future.
The other highlights of the week were, of course, the cattle shows. The judges on Thursday for the Balancer show and showmanship were Alan Miller and Will Coor. Friday, Jason Elmore sorted the steers and Gelbvieh bulls and females. As always, the champion females and bulls were fantastic representations of good-looking cattle that will hopefully go out and be functional cornerstone pieces of breeding operations.
In all, it was a fantastic week and we look forward to the start of a new year as a junior association!