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BEEF BLIMP MAKES NASCAR DEBUT

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (June 14, 2007) – What might be the nation's first Beef. It's What's For Dinner blimp made its maiden flight above the heads of some 200,000 NASCAR fans during Spring Race Weekend, June 1-3, at Dover International Speedway in Dover, Md.

The beef balloon was part of the checkoff-funded Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative (NEBPI), a project of the Cattlemen's Beef Board and several northeast state beef councils. During the Dover race, NEBPI volunteers and National Beef Ambassadors boosted the beef message by serving 2,000 burger samples at a booth on the speedway's “monster mile,” between the stands and the RV parks. Burgers were donated by Fast Fixin'.

“NASCAR fans and beef are a great mixture. The blimp added to the enthusiasm and allowed consumers to locate the sampling area,” said Bill McKinnon, a volunteer from the Virginia Cattleman's Association. McKinnon added the 17-foot long blimp was visible to highway travelers who were heading to Delaware beaches for the weekend.

The promotion also featured a new beef recipe from the winner of the Dover International Honorary Beef Master contest, held prior to race weekend. Amy Yannelli was named the track's Honorary Beef Master for her winning recipe, Cheese-Stuffed Flank Steak (recipe attached).

“My family had an incredible time at Dover! Standing with Jeff Gordon's pit crew was an event of a lifetime,” Yannelli said. “The National Beef Ambassador team welcomed me and treated me like a five-star chef—it really made my weekend grand.”

The NEBPI team also hosted a Kids' Zone, where the Pennsylvania Beef Council cheeseburger character, Patty Melt, posted for photos and handed out coloring books to children and summer grilling recipes to parents.

“The Kids Zone was a great way to introduce beef to younger consumers,” said National Beef Ambassador Matt Peebles.

The entire checkoff team was particularly excited to hear personally from a beef producer who was attending the race.

“It made us all feel like we are making a difference when we met a beef producer who commented on how glad he was that his beef checkoff dollars were going for such a good promotion,” said Chris Jeffcoat, director of Industry Relations/Beef Quality Assurance for the Pennsylvania Beef Council.

Honorary Beef Master

Winning Recipe

This recipe earned beef fan Amy Yannelli top honors in a contest held in conjunction with a checkoff funded- beef promotion at the Spring NASCAR Weekend race at Maryland's Dover Speedway, June 1-3, 2007. The promotion was led by the Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative, a project of the Cattlemen's Beef Board and the Federation of State Beef Councils.

Cheese-Stuffed Flank Steak

1 (1 ˝ lb) flank steak

1 (8 oz.) bottle of red wine vinaigrette

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 dash black pepper

1 (8oz.) Package of Monterey Jack cheese with peppers, cut into 8 lengthwise slices (Note: Pre-sliced cheese is recommended)

8 (8-in.) flour tortillas

16 wooden sticks

• Slice a pocket horizontally, across the grain of the steak, cutting within ˝ inch but not through the opposite end.

• Stir together vinaigrette, cumin and pepper in a shallow dish or zip lock plastic bag. Add steak to dish or bag. Cover or seal and refrigerate for 3 hours, turning occasionally.

• After 3 hours, remove steak from the marinade. Discard marinade. Place cheese slices in steak pocket.

• Soak wooden sticks in water to moisten. Secure steak pockets with wooden sticks.

• Grill steak about 10 minutes on each side. Total cook time: 17 to 21 minutes for a charcoal grill or 16 to 21 minutes for a gas grill.

• Let stand 5 minutes; remove wooden sticks and cut diagonally into thin slices.

• Grill flour tortillas on open grill, 1 to 2 minutes on each side or until warm. Serve with steak separately or make a wrap.

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