The National Junior Angus Show is the highlight of the summer for many Angus families, and this year the big event takes place July 15-21 in Louisville, Ky. While the cattle shows are the main attraction, the week also includes the showmanship competition, junior activities and a variety of life-skills contests.
"The National Junior Angus Show is an exciting event for Angus youth and their families across the country," says Robin Ruff, junior activities director for the American Angus Association. "It is more than just a traditional cattle show. It's an event that challenges youth to build life skills and develop long-lasting relationships."
Sponsored by the Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky Angus and junior Angus associations, this year the NJAS is themed "In a League of Our Own." The week-long event kicks off Monday, July 16 with the Parade of States during the Opening Ceremonies at the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center, home of the North American International Livestock Exposition.
NJAS Cattle Shows
More than 1,100 head of cattle are expected to compete in the NJAS showring this summer. Official judges are as follows: Mark Johnson, Orlando, Okla., will select champions in the owned heifer division. Judging bred-and-owned heifers, cow-calf pairs, and bred-and-owned bulls will be Jeff Gooden, Iberia, Mo. Steers will be evaluated by Steve Reimer, Chamberlain, S.D. States will join together to compete for the Best Five Head, while individual members will vie for Junior Premier Breeder and Silver Pitcher Award.
The NJAS cattle ownership and postmark entry deadline is June 1. Entries can be made online at www.angus.org/njaa.
NJAS Showmanship Contest
The 46thAnnual NJAS Showmanship Contest is sure to be an attention-grabbing event. Two junior Angus members from each state will be given the opportunity to compete for the title of "Top Showman." The judges are: Anne Patton Schubert, Taylorsville, Ky., Amie Stertzbach, Louisville, Ohio, and Jonathan Perry, Fayetteville, Tenn.
NJAS Carcass Steer Contest
A twist to the traditional cattle show, the Carcass Steer Contest allows Angus juniors to increase their awareness of the important role Angus cattle play in the beef industry. Dr. Curtis and Ann Long of Briarwood Angus Farms, Butler, Mo., contribute cash prizes for the steer contest through their permanent endowment fund administered by the Angus Foundation. They believe the contest is significant because it teaches juniors about the product they are raising –quality Angus beef.
"Participants need to know the results of their cattle so they can learn, go home and make a better product for the consumer," Long says.
Outside the showring, hundreds of junior members will participate in more than a dozen educational contests. Youth can enter individually in the following: prepared and extemporaneous public speaking, career development, graphic design, writing, photography, livestock judging, and video and poster competitions.
In addition, each state can enter a team in the quiz bowl, team sales and fitting contests, as well as the American Angus Auxiliary-sponsored All-American Certified Angus Beef Cook-Off, herdsmanship and scrapbook contests.
Contest entry deadlines and further information about the NJAS are available at www.angus.org/njaa or by contacting the Junior Activities Department at 816-383-5100.
A coloring session is also provided for those younger family members not able to participate in junior contests.
NJAA Annual Meeting
Also during the week of shows and competitions, the National Junior Angus Association (NJAA) hosts its annual meeting. Two delegates from each state will gather together to review the organization's bylaws and elect six new directors to the NJAA Board. The new directors and officers will be announced during the awards program at the conclusion of the week.
The NJAS is also a time to recognize outstanding Angus youth. The Angus Foundation and American Angus Auxiliary will award a number of scholarships to deserving recent high school graduates and college students. And to help prepare younger members for a successful future, the NJAS mentoring program partners senior and novice members together to get to know one another and feel comfortable meeting other juniors.
"While joined together in the spirit of competition, Angus youth are encouraged to make friends and learn from each other," Ruff says. "These juniors are the future of the Angus breed, and it is encouraging to see them interact on a national level."
The American Angus Association is the nation's largest beef breed organization, serving nearly 30,000 members across the United States and Canada. It provides programs and services to farmers, ranchers and others who rely on the power of Angus to produce quality genetics for the beef industry and quality beef for consumers.
For more information about Angus cattle and the American Angus Association's programs and services, visit www.angus.org.