Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
Hundreds of exhibitors spent last week at the Washington County Fairgrounds for Mini Hereford Junior Nationals. Organizers said they brought in people from 16 states, with a total of around 200 cattle entered in the shows.
Mini Herford Junior Nationals Association President Shelly White said the weeklong program was action-packed, and included much more than a typical cattle show.
“The week is an intense week for kids in agriculture,” she said. “They spend time not only preparing and exhibiting their cattle, but they compete in multiple contests, (including) public speaking, a sales talk, which is a mock session where they’re selling their animal. They have a task to take a photo of their animal to promote our breed … we’ve had a lesson on beef advocacy, which means how to promote and talk about beef in a positive way.”
White said the all-around programming made the event a tremendous opportunity for participants.
“We’re grooming kids to be successful in the ag industry, we want them to be able to communicate and talk about what drives them,” she said. “It’s more life skills than just showing cattle. There’s not another show that they get the same amount of opportunity to do this number of contests, the show is unique because we offer all the things beyond.”
Those benefits extend beyond the ag industry, according to White.
“A lot of the extra stuff is life skills that we believe will help these kids be more successful later in life,” she said. “I guarantee there’s not a kid in that barn that doesn’t know how to make eye contact with somebody, introduce themselves, shake a hand. Whether they’re four or 14, that is something that is I think lost in our society a little bit.”
The events featured no exhibitors from Washington County 4-H. White said the location was picked for its state-of-the art cattle barn.
“We are a smaller group, so we try to find locations that are affordable and functional,” she said. “The fairgrounds had some things to offer that we really appreciated. The cattle barn is amazing, there are very few places that can rival the cattle barn that’s here in the country.”
Fairground managers said they were honored by the choice.
“I think it’s great for the community, its great for our fairgrounds,” Washington County Fair Board President John Wagner said. “It shows how much time and effort, money and hard work we put into our fair grounds each and every year … they have been an excellent group to work with, very organized, super easy to work with, cooperation has just been second to none.”