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FIRST-TIME SHOWMAN WINS HEIFER AT NATIONAL HEREFORD EXPO

Kansas City, Mo. — Hundreds of juniors flooded the show arena during opening ceremonies at the Junior National Hereford Expo (JNHE) in Louisville, Ky., on July 17, each hoping that it would be his or her name that was drawn as the winner of a heifer donated in memory of Mississippi Hereford breeder Stanley Hathorn.

Truman and Starr Whaley of Whaley Polled Herefords, Dalton, Ga., donated the heifer to the National Organization of Poll-ettes (NOP) to be raffled in their second annual heifer drawing held at the JNHE.

The excitement grew as the Poll-ettes revealed the winner through a process of elimination. Madison Kelch, Madisonville, Texas, was standing in the front row when she was announced the winner.

With Madison was her cousin, Haley Hartley. The Kevin and Jessica Hartley family helped Madison get her start showing Hereford cattle when Madison said she'd like to show after watching Haley and her sister Chelsey at the county fair this March. They gave Madison a heifer to show, sent her to the DeShazer show camp in Hearne, Texas, and brought her to a Texas state show and to the JNHE.

When Madison won the heifer, she says her first thought was, “I can't wait to tell Mom.” Mom, or Ginger Singletary, flew in to Louisville later in the week to watch Madison show. Both are extremely excited and grateful for the Hartley family, friends and mentors who've helped Madison in her first year of showing. They also wish to thank Whaleys, and the Dexter and Sherry Herring family of Punkin Ridge Farm.

Herrings, Beaumont, Miss., cared for the heifer for eight months prior to the JNHE, getting her halter broke and fit to show. They volunteered to do so because Stanley was a mentor to Dexter's daughter Brook (Gandy) as a young girl and a great family friend. Stanley took Brook to several shows, including the 1995 JNHE, where she showed one of his calves. Appropriately, the JNHE happened to be in Louisville in 1995 as it was this year. Dexter says, “It didn't matter what state you were — where you were from — if you worked hard Stanley was impressed. And he'd take anyone traveling.”

Stanley was a director of the Mississippi Polled Hereford Association (MPHA) for 25 years and a youth sponsor for 10, both consecutively. He was president of the MPHA for two extended terms, and attended every JNHE from 1986-2004. He also was a driving force in making the 2004 JNHE in Tunica, Miss., happen.

Stanley and his brother, Jimmy, and sister, Janice, operated the Triple H Ranch in Louisville, Miss. Stanley was an attorney by profession, but a rancher by passion. “All he was interested in were cows,” says Jimmy. Stanley provided free attorney services to the NOP for several years, and his wife, Virginia, served on the board from February of 1993 to January of '99. She was honored with the Poll-ette of the Year award and was chairman of the Youth Loan Fund for five years. This fund helped young people buy Hereford heifers to either show or to start a herd of Hereford cattle.

When Stanley passed in November 2005, Whaleys purchased the Hathorn herd. “I went to buy interest in a bull, and wound up buying the whole herd,” Truman says. The opportunity to buy 48 years of breeding was one he couldn't pass up. Whaleys had purchased cattle from Hathorns for several years. At the sale in 2004, they bought the rights to flush one of Stanley's cows. The heifer that was donated to the Poll-ette raffle was a result of that flush.

“I wanted to do something to honor Stanley,” Truman says. This was accomplished not only on the evening of the raffle, but also when Madison showed the heifer later in the week. Next year, if Madison shows the heifer at the JNHE in Denver, Colo., she will automatically receive $500 from the NOP. When told this, Madison's face lit up as she said, “We're coming back next year, Mom!”

This continued interest is a primary goal of the Poll-ette raffle. “I am sure that she (Madison) is now ‘hooked' on the JNHE,” says Stan Hathorn, Stanley's son. “The JNHE is a great event and I hope that she gets involved with many aspects of it in years to come.”

The $500 incentive is provided to four other National Junior Hereford Association (NJHA) members as well who won $1,000 NOP scholarships to be used toward the purchase of quality show heifers. The winners are Justin Womack, Telephone, Texas, peewee; Bryce Brumley, Orovada, Nev., junior; Cody Clemons, Folsom, La., intermediate; and Beau Parrish, Zachary, La., senior.

The NOP women hope that they will again be able to donate an actual heifer in addition to these monetary awards for years to come. Hereford breeders are encouraged to consider the possibility of donating. Last year's heifer was given by LaGrand Hereford and Angus Ranch, Freeman, S.D.

In addition to the heifer raffle, the NOP sponsors many NJHA junior activities and scholarships, including the Ed Bible Memorial Scholarship, Poll-ette Founders Scholarship, Creative Arts Contest, Junior Council Award, Illustrated Speech Contest and the National Queen Program.

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