City, Mo. — Roxane Gebhart, Nicole Starr and Josh VanDeWalle were awarded National Junior Merit Award Scholarships on July 18 at the Junior National Hereford Expo (JNHE) in Kansas City.
The Junior Merit Scholarships recognize outstanding members of the National Junior Hereford Association (NJHA). The scholarship program is designed to encourage individual and cooperative effort, enthusiasm, excellence, leadership and achievement among youth in order to develop reputable breeders for the good of the Hereford business and beef industry.
Candidates compete for three college scholarships provided by the Hereford Youth Foundation of America (HYFA). This year there was a tie for first place involving Roxane Gebhart, Claremore, Okla., and Nicole Starr, Manawa, Wis. The first place winners will each receive $1,500, plus an all expense paid trip to any Hereford operation in the continental U.S., made possible by long-time sponsor, Harding & Harding Insurance.
Gebhart has been a member of the NJHA and the Junior Hereford Association of Oklahoma (JHAO) for 12 years and is a member of the NJHA board of directors. She has also served two-terms as JHAO president. Gebhart has shown Hereford cattle all over the country and has won numerous awards, including division titles at the JNHE in Louisville. Gebhart has also been active in a variety of organizations, including serving as president of the Oklahoma Junior Cattlemen's Association (OJCA) as well as being involved in 4-H and FFA. She attends Oklahoma State University where she is majoring in animal science, specializing in business.
Starr has been a member of the NJHA and Wisconsin Junior Hereford Association (WJHA) for 13 years. Starr recently retired from the NJHA board where she served as director, reporter and treasurer. She has won many awards in the showring, including grand champion heifer at the Wisconsin State Fair and spring calf champion heifer at the National Western Stock Show in Denver. Starr has been involved in 4-H and FFA and has won countless awards at the state and national level in both organizations. She is also involved at the collegiate level in Block & Bridle and has served as chairman of the Michigan Beef Expo Show. Starr is currently attending Michigan State University majoring in animal science/agribusiness.
Joshua VanDeWalle, Cedar Rapids, Neb., was awarded second-place and a $1,500 scholarship. He has been a member of the NJHA for 14 years and has served in leadership roles at the state and national level, not only for the Hereford industry, but also 4-H and FFA. VanDeWalle has won many awards including the American FFA Degree, NJHA senior illustrated speech and NJHA team marketing contests. VanDeWalle exhibited the champion Hereford bull at the Nebraska State Fair FFA show and the champion junior AI bull at the Nebraska Preview Show. He attends the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and plans to graduate in 2009 with a double major in animal science and agricultural education.
The 2008 VitaFerm Junior National Hereford Expo was sponsored in part by Biozyme Inc., St. Joseph, Mo.; Fort Dodge Animal Health, Overland Park, Kan.; and UMB Bank and the RC Kemper Charitable Trust, Kansas City, Mo.
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.