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HEREFORD YOUTH ATTEND LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE

Kansas City, Mo. — Hereford youth gained life skills and in-depth industry knowledge during the 2006 Program for Reaching Individuals Determined to Excel (PRIDE) Convention, Aug. 3-6, in College Station, Texas. Eighty-five enthusiastic junior members, parents and advisors from 16 states gathered from as far away as Montana and Virginia, for three days of educational workshops, tours, and industry and inspirational speakers.

Most convention events were hosted on the Texas A&M University campus. Consequently, participants were welcomed Thursday evening by animal science Associate Professor Chris Skaggs and the crew at the Texas A&M Beef Center. Following a tour of the center, dinner was served and Jake Franke, Texas A&M's 2005-06 livestock judging coach, presented on evaluating livestock and giving oral reasons. Afterward juniors gathered at a local ice skating facility to relax and get reacquainted with their Hereford friends.

Friday morning and afternoon were packed with workshops related to leadership, veterinary medicine and reproduction in beef cattle. The evening agenda featured an awards ceremony, as well as a talk by past national FFA officer Dustin Clark.

On Saturday, the juniors learned from industry experts about beef quality assurance, meat science and agricultural marketing. They also toured the George Bush Presidential Library and listened to Rick Rigsby, world famous motivational speaker, as he talked about family and values. To top off the day, juniors traveled to DeShazer Cattle Co., Hearne, Texas, for a tour, Certified Hereford Beef® dinner and dance.

Back in College Station on Sunday, Cassie Bacon, National Junior Hereford Association (NJHA) director, led the morning devotional. A vespers service was then conducted by the NJHA board of directors. This service concluded the weekend's activities and juniors reluctantly left their new and old friends to travel back home.

“This year's PRIDE Convention was by far the most educational event to date,” says Chris Stephens, American Hereford Association director of youth activities. “The seminars were not only informative, but fun, and the attendees were able to take with them insightful knowledge on a wide range of topics.”

He continues, “The speakers were phenomenal and really captured the attention of everyone in attendance. The social activities were a real treat as well, from ice skating to dancing through the night at DeShazer's. All said and done, it could not have been a better atmosphere for learning and making lifelong memories.”

Special thanks to the following organizations and individuals who helped make PRIDE a success: the Texas Poll-ettes, Texas Hereford Women, Texas Polled Hereford Association, Texas Hereford Association, Texas Junior Polled Hereford Association, Texas Junior Hereford Association, and Hank and Sandy DeShazer and Tim and Fiona Lockhart of DeShazer Cattle Co.

The NJHA is one of the most active junior programs in the country with approximately 3,000 members. The NJHA's 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 www.jrhereford.org.

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