Nat’l Hereford expo makes first trip east

Special to The Delmarva Farmer

HARRISBURG, Pa. (July 1, 2014) — Junior Hereford exhibitors from 34 states around the country are heading to Harrisburg, Pa., for the 49th annual Junior National Hereford Expo at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex, July 6-12. It’s the farthest east the show has ever been held, according to Amy Cowan, youth activities and foundation director for the American Hereford Association.
“Numbers are great,” said Cowan. “We have 610 exhibitors and 1,530 entries. I think people are excited to travel east to a different part of the country and a new venue for our JNHE. The Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex is a state-of-the-art facility and will serve our needs well.”
Pennsylvania Hereford breeder Doug Howe has been spearheading organizational efforts for the historic event. “For the first time cattle will be stalled together in one barn,” Howe said. “This year’s theme, ‘A Sweet Family Tradition’ was a first where a group of six states came together and had direct involvement in planning of this JNHE.”
The executive committee chairman said that it was the goal of the planning group to make this expo the best one yet.
“As a committee, we are thrilled with the numbers,” Howe said. “The JNHE is a wonderful event for youth. The week-long expo gives kids the opportunity to meet new friends from all over the country who share the common love for the Hereford breed.”
In addition to exhibiting their Hereford cows, calves, heifers, steers and bulls, the national youth event also offers 23 skilled contests for juniors to compete. Everything from public speaking to team marketing and from Hereford Idol to team fitting, there are contests and activities for all juniors to be involved all week.
The state Hereford Associations of Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Virginia and West Virginia have worked hard for several years planning all aspects of the JNHE in cooperation with the American Junior Hereford Association.
It is a new location and will be a great family vacation for many, according to Cowan. “I've heard many are planning trips to Washington, D.C. and Gettysburg,” she said. “I think one of the most important reasons kids go to the Junior Nationals is to spend the week with their friends from across the country who all have the same thing in common. Whether it is in the show ring, in the grill off contest or back in the stalls, the networking opportunities and the memories made are priceless for the youth, not to mention the hard work and dedication they learn along the way.”
Cattle and exhibitors will be allowed in the Farm Show Complex on Sunday, July 6, which is also the first day of competitions. The individual sales contest is set for 10 a.m., and the illustrated speech contest begins at 3 p.m. Juniors will show off their talents in Hereford Idol beginning at 4 p.m.
Monday kicks off with the Abe Lincoln scrambles egg breakfast from 7 to 9 a.m., followed by the Hereford Bowl written test at 8 a.m. Buses depart at 9 a.m., for a historic Gettysburg tour. The grill off contest gets underway at 9 a.m. as well. Kids will lace up the sneakers at 11 a.m. for the popular three-on-three basketball competition between states.
A princess tea to inspire young Hereford juniors will begin at 2 p.m., followed by the mentoring mixer at 3 p.m. Juniors will parade through the arena carrying their state flags at 5 p.m. for the opening ceremonies. At 6:30 p.m., the welcome dinner is scheduled featuring Levi’s Amish Dutch dinner and beef pot pies.
Tuesday, July 8, kicks off with the Cowboy Tom Breakfast Skillet followed by the Cattle Judging contest at 8 a.m. A golf tournament is set for 8:30 a.m., followed by the team marketing competition at 10 a.m. The extemporaneous speech contest will begin at 10:30 a.m., and the old fashioned potato bar opens at 11:30 a.m.
The final rounds of Hereford Bowl begins at noon. At 2 p.m. Sullivan Supply and Stock Show University will host a fitting demonstration followed by the Sullivan Team Fitting Contest at 4 p.m. The National Hereford Women will host a social from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. and the National Junior Hereford Association will hold a membership meeting at 7 p.m.
Wednesday gets underway with the Johnny Appleseed pancake breakfast followed by the showmanship contest. Exhibitors will enjoy a chicken BBQ lunch and a Maryland Crab bake and burger fry supper.
On Thursday, cattle competitions begin at 8 a.m. with the cow/calf pairs, bred and owned bulls, junior A.I. Bulls, bred and owned heifers and junior A.I. heifers. The steer show starts at 5 p.m. and a cowboy/cowgirl dinner starts at 6:30 p.m.
The heifer show begins at 8 a.m. on Friday and the National Junior Hereford Association awards banquet will begin at 7 p.m. The heifer show continues at 8 a.m. on Saturday. Special awards will also be presented including premier breeder and exhibitor, the Walter and Joe Lewis Memorial, GKB Super States Award, the Golden Pitchfork and Herdsman of the Year.
“I am grateful to all the families making the trip to Harrisburg,” said Howe. “My family has made many trips to the JNHE in many different states and I know the effort it takes to make the trip. Travel with cattle and a family is not easy and is costly. Our number one goal it to make each family feel welcome and enjoy their stay in Harrisburg.”
Some exhibitors will be traveling with cattle from as far away as Oregon, Wyoming, Nebraska, and Texas, traveling more than 1,400 miles one way.
Cowan believes the trip will be worth it as every Junior National expo offers so many opportunities for young people. “The six host states are rolling out the red carpet in terms of hospitality and are excited to welcome everyone to “A Sweet Family Tradition.”