Competition Tips and Tricks

As my year on the 2015 National Beef Ambassador Team comes to an end, I would like to share my tips and tricks for the competition. Both Will and I competed at the 2011 National Beef Ambassador Competition as juniors, so this wasn’t our first rodeo. Whether you are a returning contestant or if this is your first time, it is important to remember to keep your nerves in check. This experience is supposed to be fun! With or without a title, you can still advocate for the beef community. Some of the best beef ambassadors I know are just ordinary people that spark up conversations with friends and family about beef. ResidueDon’t be overwhelmed by the competition! This is a time to meet other people with similar interests as you. Some of my closest friends are my teammates, and I never would have met them if I hadn’t become involved with this program.ResidueBe yourself! The best way to relate to people is to just be yourself. People will notice if you are trying to be someone that you aren’t. Everyone has a different personality and style of relating to people.
Residue

 

Remember to smile and have fun! This is a learning experience. Whether you walk away with the title or not, you took the initiative to make it to the national competition. Enjoy every moment of it. Good luck to all of the National Beef Ambassador contestants! Go beef!

Stop, Watch, and Listen

When it comes to being a part of the beef industry, there are multiple facets that one can be a part of; the beef producer, the advocate, and the shower. Most youth would agree that the best part of showing cattle is not the colorful rope halters or show sticks, the daily washing and blow drying, or the sparkles on the jeans as a part of the wardrobe, (although all fun pieces of showing) but the facet of showing the animal that so much time and dedication is put in to. There is no better feeling than walking into the ring and having your steer or heifer behave and do everything you have practiced at home; and taking home a ribbon, trophy, or banner always adds an extra sparkle and rewarding memory to the experience. However, there is more to beef cattle than just showing. One must take the time to watch and listen to effectively learn and improve upon their skills and tactics.

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Sparkles, fancy boots, and added color are just fun extras of showing cattle, the real fun is showing off the daily hard work once you walk into the show ring.

This past week and upcoming week are filled with days spent at the Ohio State Fair working a putt putt course that helps to give scholarships to college students, as well as watching beef cattle shows and talking to fair goers and youth about the beef industry.

As I walked into senior showmanship the other morning, I could not help but notice the array of younger kids standing ringside or sitting in the bleachers watching their older peers and the judge as they battled for the top showman position. I have learned throughout my years of showing that you can learn just as much outside the ring than you can standing in it.

From the point of view of looking at the situation of each individual showman from an outward appearance, you have the ability to watch others and nitpick on their showmanship tactics and skills and learn what you yourself should do or try to help make your show animal look better for the judge. By standing or sitting back, you also have the ability to see multiple showers and animals and watch and compare, as well as learn what the particular judge judging the show likes and does not like. It is important as you watch, listen, take notes, and learn to keep open perspective of how others show. All animals entering the show ring have different personalities and were raised in different environments, and the same goes for the showers. Some showman learned different tactics than others and while watching a show it is most important to simply study how other showman work around the space in the ring and keep their animal calm to show their best to the judge.

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Youth of the beef industry taking the time to attend a show clinic to learn some tips and tricks prior to showing their animals.

Taking the time to watch, at whatever age of shower, parent, or spectator you might be, allows you to BE THE JUDGE. This is one of the most important parts of watching a show. You have the ability to watch the same show as the judge and formulate your own reasons and opinions for placing the way you choose, and by doing this you learn what is most important to you while showing and then as a shower yourself you can start implementing that piece. It is also important to really take the time to listen to the judges’ reasons for placing the way he did because you learn what he is and is not looking for in the showers.

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Youth of all ages can engage in shows and learn from watching others and listening to the judge give reasons for his placements. Taking the time to stop, watch, and listen can really pay off in the end!

The best way to learn is to watch and listen multiple times, as well as learn to be the judge yourself. It is amazing how much one can learn by taking the time to step away from the halter and take the time to stand ringside.

 

Happy Tuesday!

Demi

 

Thank Your Mom

I have been blessed with the most amazing mother I could have ever asked for. My mom is my biggest cheerleader, and is always pushing me to accomplish more than I ever could have thought was possible. I know that if I ever need advice, a kind word, or even just an ear to listen to me complain about my mundane problems-that my mom is there for me. She believes in me, even when I don’t believe in myself.

My mom has always been the glue that holds our family together.

My mom has always been the glue that holds our family together.

Being involved in agriculture, even our slow season is still very busy. Mom always makes sure that we always have a lunch and dinner, even when we are working late into the night in the fields.

Moma

My mom has been there for me through everything.

My mom has sat through countless excruciatingly long contests, just to watch me compete for five minutes. She really  sets a great example of what it means to put others before yourself. If I can be half as kind and caring as she is, then I will be doing good.

I would not have a clue how to cook if it wasn’t for my mom! She makes the best cabbage pockets. Cabbage pockets are a regional food primarily found in Nebraska. They are the perfect lunch for when you are on the go. My mom was generous enough to let me share her recipe for cabbage pockets with the world:

Be sure to thank your mother today, and everyday for all that she has done for you. My mom has shaped me into who I am today, and I am eternally grateful for that. Love you moma!

Rachel Purdy
Princess Farmer

The Show Ring

“You do what to those cattle?!”  This is a phrase I’ve often heard when explaining to consumers about the show cattle side of beef production. They are often surprised that we not only bathe cattle, but blow dry, clip, condition and work hair on these animals, let alone put them on a halter and show them!

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My first heifer, Bella, inspired me to keep raising cattle and start my own cattle company

 

Not every producer is involved in showing, but there are some that make a living out of raising show cattle, and others that just want to occasionally showcase the quality of the animals they breed.  Still others are involved through youth programs like 4-H and FFA that teach members about raising these animals and often inspire them to pursue careers within the beef field.

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FFA helped me to develop my own start-up company, Ace Club Calves. We now exhibit our own cattle and have done well.

 

I’ll be very honest when I say that I would not be here if it weren’t for programs like 4-H and FFA.  I am a product of the show industry.  It is where I found my passion for cattle and learned innovative ways to raise them.  Without showing, I know that I would have never taken an interest in beef cattle nor found the passion I have for representing and advocating for this amazing group of people and their livelihoods.

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Making a bond with your calf is an important part of showing. Remmy was a very special calf that I truly enjoyed

 

The show industry is a great program in which youth can be exposed to raising cattle and what it takes to do so, and helps them to earn a little money that they can either save or spend as they please.  It teaches responsibility, commitment, compassion and accountability through having an animal rely on you to care for it.  Success in the show ring only comes if you work hard and do things the best way possible.  You have to ensure that you and your animal have a mutual respect and love for each other if you are going to get anywhere.

One of the most knowledgeable and passionate people I know, Shannon is a friend that I met through showing

One of the most knowledgeable and passionate people I know, Shannon is a friend that I met through showing

Beyond the amazing qualities it helps to develop, some of my best friends have been made around the show ring.  There is just something about sitting in the bleachers watching cattle shows, or helping on another to clip or fit an animal that creates an inseparable bond.  Though we are all from different parts of the country, I know that I can rely on my show friends to always be there if I need advice or assistance.

 

From the Heart of Beef,

Alicia

Fluffy Cows 

Last year pictures of groomed cattle dubbed “fluffy cows” went viral on the Internet and were an overnight success. Many people who aren’t familiar with cattle or perhaps had only seen commercial cattle grazing were interested to see this new type of cow. Growing up around show cattle, I thought the concept was funny to say the least, but it’s definitely a neat segment of the beef industry to take a look at. Here’s a quick overview of the “fluffy cows.”

Fluffy cows are just highly groomed cattle that experience the best of care.

Fluffy cows are just highly groomed cattle that experience the best of care.

Fluffy cows are not a single breed. Contrary to what some comments on pictures and blogs might lead you to believe, fluffy cows are simply cattle that are more groomed than average. Many of them are purebred breeds, such as the recognizable Angus, but many are crossbred between two or more breeds.

OK…so how are they so fluffy? Fluffy cows get their fluff from intense levels of grooming. Many are washed and dried multiple times a day to keep them clean and brushed to provide the best conditions for hair growth. Most are also kept under fans or in air-conditioned rooms called coolers to keep them cool with all that hair. When at shows or other events, hair spray and adhesive may be used to stand the hair up – similar to some older human hairstyles!

Part of the "fluffy" process is frequent baths and blow drying.

Part of the “fluffy” process is frequent baths and blow drying.

Fluffy cows receive the pinnacle of care. Between multiple baths a day, a highly monitored feeding regimen of top notch feeds, spending the day relaxing in an air-conditioned barn and receiving constant grooming and other care, fluffy cows definitely lead a pampered life. While animal welfare is critical on all farming operations, fluffy cows go above and beyond to provide the best possible care for their animals.

So why? With all the work that goes into keeping fluffy cows so fluffy it’s easy to ask, “Why bother?” Fluffy cows are show cattle that spend the first two years of their lives being shown in livestock fairs and exhibitions, often through programs like 4-H and FFA. The project of showing livestock introduces kids to the farm, cattle and helps teach the value of hard work from a young age.

Showing cattle teaches kids valuable life lessons such as the value of hard work and that everything doesn't always go your way.

Showing cattle teaches kids valuable life lessons such as the value of hard work and that everything doesn’t always go your way.

What happens when they are finished showing? When cattle turn two years old, they are generally too old to show in most fairs. Some allow older cattle to show with their calf, but for most fluffy cows after they turn two they are demoted to just cows. They’ll spend the remainder of their life in the field like any other cow and hopefully one of their calves can be a fluffy cow too.

Will Pohlman

#SuperBeef: More Than Just Meat

foot·ball ˈ(fo͝otˌbôl): noun, a form of team game played in North America with an oval ball on a field marked out as a gridiron.

 

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Football is often thought of as an American tradition. Whether it be the dream of a young child to someday be a Heisman Trophy recipient, a cookout to celebrate a Friday-night victory, or a Sunday afternoon watch party, football brings families together. In addition to the countless super duper yummy beef dishes enjoyed during football parties, footballs are made from leather; leather provided by cattle.

1. One cow hide produces about ten footballs. 120 footballs are used in the Super Bowl Championship football game.

footballs

Think how different our entertainment arena would be without football! Just remember: cattle provide more than a delicious protein source. They provide many by-products that we use everyday, such as cosmetics, leather and tires.

 

2. Chili, burger sliders, sloppy joes, and mini burritos are quick and easy options for party nibblings. 

beef enchilada dip

How will you be incorporating beef into your Super Bowl entertaining? I will be making Beef Enchilada Dip. This recipe takes less than fifteen minutes and is very simple to put together when pressured for time. Find the recipe here!

 

3.151.6 million people are expected to watch a portion, if not all, of the Super Bowl XLIX Championship football game.

superbowl-party

That is a lot of families and close friends that may not have gotten to fellowship together without football. Thank you, cows!

 

4. The famous game will be broadcast in 232 different countries and territories.

Because the Super Bowl is enjoyed by so many around the world, beef plays a vital role in global entertainment and millions of pricesless memories made.

 

5. $400 million are added to the local economy because of this football game.

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In addition to beef exports, domestic beef sales and cattle by-product utilization, the indirect economic benefits supported by the beef community are awesome!

 

So, while you are enjoying the big game, don’t forget to thank the ranchers who help provide the main contributor to the sport of football. And remember, if it wasn’t for cattle our whole world of sports would not be the same.

P.S. Are you incorporating beef into your Super Bowl experience? If so, we want to know about it! Be sure to include #SuperBeef with all of your beef pictures, tweets and status updates.

God bless, folks!

Kalyn McKibben

Blonde Beef Babe

 

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/football

http://www.wilson.com/en-us/football/nfl/wilson-and-the-nfl/trivia/

http://www.treehugger.com/culture/by-the-numbers-super-bowl-facts-and-figures.html

 

And They Call the Thing a Cattle Show

If you would have told me ten years ago that I would be showing cattle, I would have asked you why anyone would want to do that. Somehow, in a roundabout way, my love of horses led me to my passion of cattle. Showing cattle has developed me into the person I am today and given me a love of the beef industry. I can honestly say, that without this experience, I would be nowhere near where I am today, and I most certainly wouldn’t be a National Beef Ambassador!  I get asked a lot what exactly showing cattle entails, and people are often surprised at the answer! I would like to briefly share a little bit about the world of cattle showing with y’all today.

The first thing y’all should know is that show cattle kids are CRAZY. We spend hours upon hours working and growing hair on our cattle, formulating special rations and spending time with our animals. Show cattle are more pets than anything else!

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The little monster, “Elsie”, hanging out in the house

Long before show day ever happens, we spend time rinsing our cattle everyday (sometimes multiple times a day) and working hair. This involves brushing them, putting in conditioners and then using a blower(essentially a very powerful hairdryer) to get them dry and make the hair “pop”.   All of these things are necessary to make the hair work for us on show day and be easier to clip.  A couple days before the show, we clip out our animals. Many people think this is simply shaving the cattle, but it would be more similar to sculpting. We shape the cattle’s hair so that it highlights their good features and can help to hide some of their bad. Clipping cattle requires great expertise and can truly transform a calf!

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Before

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After

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, on show day, we give our animals a good bath, get them blown out just right and add oils to make them shine. We give them a final clip to make sure they look perfect, and add adhesives in their legs to make them look stockier.  Their halters are polished, and with show stick in hand, we head to the show ring to try and make a go for Grand!

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Showing a Cow/Calf Pair at AZ Nationals

Some of my best memories are hanging out at stock shows. There is just something magical about walking in the ring, and there is no better feeling than getting the “Champion Slap”. I am lucky that every year, I get to attend the Arizona National Livestock Show, in fact, it is one of my favorite things about coming home for Winter Break. We had a great show these past few days, and now we get ready for the next set of babies to start pampering for show season!

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Breakfast time at the Show!

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Pretty Proud!

 

 

 

Happy New Year Everyone!

Alicia

 

 

Get Ready for the 2015 Contest

Wow! I can’t believe I am writing a blog for the 2015 contest, it seems like just yesterday it was the 2014 National Beef Ambassador Contest, but what a year it has been.  Some of my best memories were made at the contest.  So contestants get ready for an AWESOME weekend ahead of you.

Don’t be nervous.  I know I was very nervous when I left Texas to head to the contest, but don’t be.  The judges are some of the friendliest people you will ever meet.  Have confidence in yourself and know you can do it.

Don’t stress about the last minute facts.  I will say, I spent a large amount of my time at the contest studying.  Of all the things I studied the weekend of the contest I don’t think I used any of it.  The important thing is how you communicate the information.

Show your personality.  Consumers want to be able to relate to you, be happy and show them you care what they think.  Each of the team members this year have an awesome personality and it makes it really easy for us to engage with consumers on any level.

Share your story.  This one is so important.  Growing up in or around the beef community gives you so many stories and experiences. Those stories are so valuable, SHARE THEM!

Above all HAVE FUN!!!!! The contest was so much fun last year for me and I hope it will be for you as well.  Not only was it fun, but I met some amazing friends that I can share my passion for the beef community with.  For five of you it will start an experience of a lifetime.

Beef & Blessings,

Justana

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-Ohio State Buckeyes 4 Beef!-

What happens when you combine a newly chartered collegiate organization, a burning passion for the beef cattle community, and an excitement to share that passion with the students of your college university? The Buckeyes4Beef Ohio State campus event!

It was so exciting to see OSU students writing positive notes about beef and posting them to our #BeefBuzz Board

It was so exciting to see OSU students writing positive notes about beef and posting them to our #BeefBuzz Board

Buckeyes4Beef took place this past weekend on my college campus, The Ohio State University. Through the efforts of the Collegiate Cattlewomen’s Club of Ohio State, the 2014 National Beef Ambassador team, and funding provided by the Beef Checkoff, our team of beef enthusiasts was able to successfully execute the largest beef promotion event to ever hit the city of Columbus.

National Beef Ambassador, Rachael Wolters plays beef trivia with Ohio State's mascot, Brutus the Buckeye.

National Beef Ambassador, Rachael Wolters plays beef trivia with Ohio State’s mascot, Brutus the Buckeye.

Buckeyes4Beef was divided into two days. On Friday, our event was held on a large grassy space in the center of campus, which we call the Oval. On the Oval, our group spent the day playing games, such as Meet Your Meat, Beef Busters, Who’s the Heifer, and Size Up Your Servings, and sought opportunities to have genuine conversations with our peers about their concerns involving the beef community. During the event, we collected surveys, asking students one question of whether their opinion about the positives of beef had improved, remained the same, or decreased after their time at the Buckeyes4Beef event. Of the 58 students surveyed, 78% said that their opinions had improved, and 22% said their feelings had not changed. Pretty awesome statistics!

Congratulations to our Take-the-Steak champs, the Buckeye Dairy Club!

Congratulations to our Take-the-Steak champs, the Buckeye Dairy Club!

On Saturday, the Buckeyes4Beef event continued with a tailgate during the Ohio State vs. Kent State football game. During the tailgate, our team served all-beef hot dogs to football fans and handed out fun beef prizes. The most exciting part of the tailgate was the “Take-the-Steak” competition; a Chopped- style cook-off where collegiate clubs and organizations formed teams to show off their beef grilling and culinary skills. After three rounds of tough competition (and a lot of really great beef) it was a pleasure to award the Buckeye Dairy Club with the Take-the-Steak trophy and the grand prize; a steak dinner for 20!

All in all, Buckeyes4Beef was a huge success. After assessing attendance of the two events, I estimate that we were able to reach approximately 700 students and tailgaters with our event, not to mention the #BeefBuzz that was exploding throughout Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. It was such an amazing experience to work with our newly chartered Collegiate Cattlewomen’s club to put on this event, especially considering the entire production was planned before we have had our first official club meeting. It just goes to show how impactful a group of millennials can be when we set out to share our passions. Eat Beef and Go Bucks!

All for the Love for Beef,
Sierra Jepsen

Beef Fuels Boilermaker

This weekend, Justana, Tori and I were given the opportunity to assist the New York Beef Council at the 2014 Boilermaker Race Expo in Utica, New York. The Boilermaker 15K (9.3 mile) race is the biggest one in the entire nation, with thousands of runners and over $40,000 offered in prizes. They also offer a 5K (3.1 miles), a three mile walk, and a children’s race. The Expo takes place during the two days before the race, and is a time for sponsors to promote their cause.  The Beef Ambassadors joined the Beef Council at the beef

The spice bar

The spice bar

booth (really it’s an entire aisle if beef-related promoters), where we served two different beef spices: “Chill-Out” beef chili seasoning and “Mama Mia” Italian steak rub. People got a recipe and a spice bag, and got it put a scoop of each individual spice into their bag to create the seasonings. This interactive method of promoting beef allowed for many conversations; the line was practically to the door.

 

The Boilermaker Burger

The Boilermaker Burger

The New York Beef Council not only supports the race, but has also developed a “Boilermaker Burger.” The burger is served at local restaurants for only 5 weeks, as a promotion for both beef and the race, and is somewhat of a novelty item. This year, for every burger sold, $0.50 went to the Food Bank of Central New York.

While promoting beef and seeing all of the competitors was a blast,I think the most excitement came from the anticipation or running the 5K. That’s right, the three of us who have never ran three miles in our lives were going to wake up at 5 am Sunday morning and join over a thousand other runners in the 2014 Boikermaker 5 kilometer race!! The thought was both exhilarating and terrifying, but we knew we had to do it for Team Beef. And we did! All three of us (and over 100 other Team Beef runners spread out through both races) finished the race-and ran the whole thing to boot! It was such a fantastic experience and encouraged me to enter more races as a part of team beef. It was a beautiful weekend in Utica, and though I wasn’t expecting to run three miles before boarding my plane, I couldn’t be more happy or proud that I did!

imageHave a great week!

Emma