to host ‘the best' …
Keith Evans wrote in A Historic Angus Journey, “… the National Junior Angus Heifer Show was initiated July 24, 1969, in conjunction with the National Angus Conference at the University of Missouri in Columbia. From the beginning it was more than just another show, but probably no one imagined how successful it would later become. The first show featured 103 heifers primarily from Midwestern states.”
Competition, education, experience
While this column is being written prior to the completion of the 2006 National Junior Angus Show (NJAS) in Indianapolis, Ind., it is anticipated that in excess of 1,500 animals will be entered into competition by more than 500 junior Angus members from all across the country.
This year's event is being hosted by the Indiana Angus industry. And indeed, it is far more than a show. It is a major livestock event that presents junior members opportunities to participate in experiences reaching beyond the showring. Competitions are scheduled in venues such as public speaking, team sales, photography, cooking, scrapbook preparation, creative writing, herdsmanship, showmanship, quiz bowl and team fitting, to name a few.
In addition to learning how to compete, the NJAS offers educational experiences in a format in which lessons learned are not easily forgotten.
A price tag
The NJAS is also an expensive event. From time to time, it has been suggested that the American Angus Association fund the entire event. There's good and bad reasoning in that philosophy.
An ancient proverb states, “Whatever's worth having is worth fighting for.” I would paraphrase and say, “Whatever's worth having is worth working for.” In order to have a successful event of the size and magnitude of the NJAS, all parties involved must work hard together, hand-in-glove.
I will be the first to recognize and acknowledge the extraordinary work and leadership exhibited by hosting states. Planning begins years in advance in order to make the NJAS equal to or better than the previous event. Therein lies the problem of the hosting organization feeling obligated to do more than the previous host.
Interestingly enough, the Association, with the support of its affiliates — Certified Angus Beef LLC (CAB), Angus Productions Inc. (API) and the Angus Foundation — has always assumed financial responsibility for the basic requirements of the NJAS. The fact is, we can organize and implement a great NJAS without many of the frills people have come to expect.
Our preliminary Association budget for fiscal year (FY) 2007 has allocated $445,000 — nearly half a million dollars — for show expenses. About half of that money will be allocated for the NJAS. Additions to both this year's and next year's budget include financial support for audiovisual equipment, directional signage, class winner awards, judge appreciation gifts and the queen's luncheon.
James Fisher, Association director of activities and junior activities, wrote (and I fully agree), “The NJAS should never be fully funded by the American Angus Association or the Angus Foundation.” Part of the process for hosting the NJAS is bringing all the parties together, planning a budget, and then developing a fundraising plan to meet their part of the budget. In doing so, the hosting organization takes ownership and pride in their accomplishments.
As to some of the extras that have been provided in the past, neither the hosting organization nor the Association should be expected to provide full meal service to exhibitors, families, spectators, fitters and Association staff each day of the show. Don't misunderstand. Should the host wish to do this, that's all well and good. But it is not required, and it should not be expected. This also applies to several other extras that have been included during the 38-year history of the event.
Supporting our youth
The National Junior Angus Association (NJAA) is the strongest organization of its kind in the world. And the NJAS has grown into the most extensive breed association event in the world as a result of its competitive and educational events and activities. This has been made possible by the cooperative efforts of the hosting organization, the Association, CAB, API, the American Angus Auxiliary and the Angus Foundation. Add to this list the generous contributions of breeders and the work of the many volunteers who generously donate their time, and we have truly one of the most exciting events imaginable.
With the exercise of sound judgment, sensible planning, realistic expectations and the tremendous cooperation we have enjoyed in the past, the future of the NJAS shines bright on the horizon and it will continue to be the premier event of its kind in the world.