by Rebecca Long Chaney
KANSAS CITY, MO — The “Show Me” state welcomed 660 junior Hereford exhibitors from 40 states with 1,100 head of cattle to the Junior National Hereford Expo (JNHE). The annual event is held every year in a different state to showcase the nation’s top Hereford cattle and junior members compete in 23 skill-based contests.
According to Amy Cowan, Director of Hereford Youth Activities and the Hereford Youth Foundation of America (HYFA), the JNHE is the premier event each year that Hereford families look forward too. “Scholarship and education is the mission statement of the Foundation,” she said. “We have two components — we offer $50,000 in scholarships and we hope to grow the foundation. The short-term goal is raising one million to continue offering scholarships. The long-term goal is raising five million so we can use the interest for scholarships and other junior Hereford activities.”
East Coast youth made an impression at the national show. There were three junior exhibitors from Connecticut, one from Maine, 10 from Maryland, three from New Hampshire, eight from New Jersey, five from New York, 15 from Pennsylvania and four from Virginia. They exhibited nearly 100 Herefords, several winning top honors.
Doug Howe of Wagontown, PA, was happy there was a great delegation of Hereford youth representing the East and Northeast. Howe’s family operates Deanajak Farm and Howe is the chairman of the 2014 Junior National Hereford Expo to be held July 5-12 at the Farm Show Building in Harrisburg, PA.
A special booth exhibit promoting the 2014 theme “A Sweet Family Tradition,” offered highlights of Pennsylvania and the Farm Show Complex. Hershey kisses welcomed exhibitors and show spectators as they entered the show arena in Kansas City. “A Sweet Family Tradition” is representative of the rich tradition of Hereford breeders in the Keystone state as well as the 100-year tradition of Hershey chocolates.
The event chair said the Farm Show complex can accommodate 1,800 head of cattle in the Weis Building. “It gives Pennsylvania and the surrounding states the opportunity to showcase our hospitality, the history and the cattle,” Howe said. “We have a committee working on the national show with members from New Jersey, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York.”
According to Howe, with the Junior National Show being held in the East, some believe cattle entries will drop because some Hereford breeders will not drive across the country to show. “But we are hopeful we will have an increase in exhibitors from the southeast and northeast.
Howe also believes the 2014 show will be the perfect event for kids from across the United States to see this part of the country. “Hosting the show in Pennsylvania will be the opportunity for a lot of these kids and parents to see a part of the country they’ve never seen before,” he pointed out. “Pennsylvania is where so much history was made. Years ago it was the settlers in the East that headed West, now it’s time for the ones out West to head East.”
The annual event is truly a family tradition for the Howe family. “As a parent of six children all showing this year I see the friendships and the work ethic developed by my children,” he added. “We are looking forward to a great event in July, 2014 and welcoming Hereford juniors from across the country.”
East coast juniors did well with their Herefords and in the various contests. Reagan Dunn of Cochranton, PA, won second place in the peewee poster competition. Sheridan and Rianna Chaney, formerly of Thurmont, MD, won second and third, respectively, in the peewee photo contest. Sheridan also won an engraved leather halter for being selected as the third-grade Hereford Junior Prospect honoree.
Hannah Billing of Greenell, NJ, placed third in the senior division of Hereford Idol, the show’s talent show. Wyatt Debman of Gaithersburg, MD, was the third overall winner in the junior judging competition and the senior judging team from Maryland placed third. Team members included Taylor Bramble of Queen Anne, Melissa Grimmel of Jarrettsville, Kyle Lemmon of Manchester and Ashley Rodenheaver of Friendsville.
During the final awards banquet, an outstanding junior from each state was recognized. Kyle Lemmon was the outstanding member from Maryland. Other outstanding juniors included Kurtis Pepin of Connecticut, Philip Clair of Maine, Anna Fredrickson of New Hampshire, Chase Billing of New Jersey, James Held of New York, Nigel Howe of Pennsylvania, and Olivia Williams of Virginia.
Those juniors reaching their final year to exhibit at the show included Kyle Lemmon, Taylor Brambleee, Ashley Rodenheaver, all from Maryland; Chase Billing and Gregory Harris of New Jersey; Daniel Fleishman of Virginia; and Austin Howe of Pennsylvania.
In the cattle show, Sarah Carter of Cannan, NH, exhibited the Combined Reserve Champion Division IV Bred and Owned Heifer. John Thomas Heyl of The Plains, VA, exhibited the Combined Champion Progress Steer.
The first place spring yearling polled heifer was shown by Matt Powers of Allison Park, PA, and the first place junior yearling polled heifer was shown by Ashley Rodenheaver. Kaylie Shelton of Frederick, MD, also exhibited a class winner in the polled senior yearling heifer show.
The quality of Herefords was impressive, according to the American Hereford Association Chief Operating Officer Jack Ward. He believes the annual event not only showcases some of the best Hereford cattle in the country, but fosters lasting friendships and develops so many positive life skills for our country’s youth.
“To parents and grandparents, this is a generational event,” Ward said. “We have the highest quality, most wholesome product in the world. Ranchers and farmers producing this product are passing it down to the next generation.”
Ward believes the opportunities for today’s livestock juniors are unmatched by all other industries and that cattle families should be excited about what the Hereford association has to offer.
During their retiring addresses, the four retiring National Junior Board members praised the Hereford association and all the special people who had helped them accomplish their goals. Junior board chair, Tamar Adcock of Assumption, IL, said it best, “The cattle are great, but the true treasure of the Hereford breed is the people.”
by Rebecca Long Chaney