LOUISVILLE, KY — More than 900 Junior Hereford cattle exhibitors from 38 states and Canada traveled to Louisville to show Herefords and compete in 23 skilled competitions at the Junior National Hereford Expo (JNHE). Nearly 1,300 animals were exhibited in the largest junior national show of any breed.
It was the 18th JNHE and the first year for Maryland to win the coveted Golden Pitchfork Award. Only one Golden Pitchfork Award is given, according to Amy Cowan, National Junior Hereford Association director of youth activities. “This award is presented to one state association during the national junior show and was developed to encourage junior exhibitors to work together in the display of their cattle, as well as to create state pride during the JNHE,” Cowan said.
Cowan also said the state association display is judged on a combination of cleanliness, uniformity in stalling like cattle cards and panels and other decorations representing the state.
This year Maryland went with a display complete with a crab shack sporting the Maryland flag, emblems of Maryland and baskets full of Maryland snacks to give away.
Michelle Grimmel Wolfrey of Jarrettsville, MD, in her 12th year as a junior advisor for the Maryland Junior Hereford Association, is very proud of the Maryland group. She said it takes a tremendous effort by all the participants and parents to create an idea, make sure it comes to fruition and work together at the show.
Grimmel shares important advice to her junior members. “Never let the quality of your cattle determine if you should go to Junior Nationals or not,” she pointed out. “That only matters for 10 minutes while you’re at Junior Nationals — the time you’re in the showring. The rest of the time you’re doing contests, having fun with friends and meeting new people. That’s the important part.”
The week kicked off with opening ceremonies and contest awards. Tiffany Bowman of Boonsboro, MD and Misty Freeman, formerly of Maryland, were recognized with other retiring junior members with a special gift honoring them for their last JNHE and their final year as a member of the junior association. Junior Hereford membership is ages seven through 22.
Rianna and Sheridan Chaney, formerly of Thurmont, MD, were the winners in the junior division for national team sales with their innovative producer-designed Vak-Pak vaccine cooler for branding and processing day. Rianna also won first place enhanced Hereford photo in the junior division and was 2nd in poster.
In the cattle shows, Kaylie Shelton of Frederick, MD exhibited the reserved grand champion steer. C.J. Shelton of Frederick, MD exhibited a class-winning steer as did Sheridan Chaney. Jason Baust of Rocky Ridge, MD exhibited the fourth place steer in the carcass contest.
Lexi Wright of Philppi, WV, was 9th overall in the junior showmanship contest with 26 heats. Kathy Lehman of Shelby, Ohio showed the reserve champion division I owned horned heifer. Both Lexi and Kathy are members of the Maryland Junior Hereford Association.
Kristen Stiles of Damascus was honored as the Maryland Outstanding Junior during the final awards program Wednesday night. That same evening, Rianna won first place junior in the national illustrated speech contest and was the 7th grade Prospect honoree, recognizing her as the outstanding Hereford 7th grader in the country for Hereford achievement, participation, leadership and community service.
In the Judging contest, there were 128 juniors. Ian Forbes of Churchville, MD was 11th; Sheridan was 4th and Rianna was 25th. There were 134 intermediates judging. Will Clark of Culpeper, VA, was 7th; Amanda Cranwell of NY was 9th; Wyatt Debnam of Gaithersburg, MD Was 15th; Jason Baust was 20th; and Emily Cranwell of NY was 23rd.
Many states bring a state basket or “table” of items for a silent auction. The proceeds are split between the National Junior Hereford Association and the each state that provided a basket. The Maryland basket included Hereford themed painted items and many items unique to Maryland. The basket raised $3,600, setting a new record for the Maryland basket.
The NJHA is one of the most active junior programs in the country with approximately 3,000 members. Its mission is to create and promote enthusiasm for the breed while providing opportunities through leadership, education and teamwork. For more information about the NJHA, visit JrHereford.org .
The 2018 Junior National Hereford Expo will be held in Grand Island, NE, July 1-7.