Our Simmental Family to the North
By Courtney Wesner
Many of us have used the line, “The cattle industry is like a big family” or “Cattle people are just good people” or maybe even, “Our farm kids, they know how to work and they will make it in the world”; it is not until we venture away from our norm that we can fully realize the truth and the universal power to those simple lines that we usually give little thought to dropping.
The Canadian Simmental Association (CSA) recently hosted their equivalent of our National Classic. The Young Canadian Simmental Association (YCSA) National Classic was held at the Elkhorn Resort in Onanole, Manitoba, in conjunction with the 2014 Canadian Simmental Association (CSA) Annual Meeting on July 26-27.
Just short of 40 exhibitors with 40 head of cattle set up their stalls and made temporary homes with hopes of purple and success the same way that our AJSA members did in Louisville. Contestants competed in educational contests such as Herdsman Quiz, Team Marketing, Team Fitting, Judging, and Showmanship. While the youth participated in the events, the adult membership, staff, and Senior Board members spent their time in meetings. The finale of two full days came in the form of the annual CSA Foundation auction, which raised more than $90,000, and the exhibition of cattle in the show by an up-and-coming bunch of junior members.
A humbling gesture for the AJSA came at the end of the cattle show. The two top overall junior participants called “Top Aggregates” — Wyatt Millar and Sara Van Sickle, won a fully funded trip to participate in the 2015 AJSA Summit Leadership Conference. These two YCSA enthusiasts will travel to the US with the opportunity to expand their personal experiences and serve as educators and ambassadors for the CSA — an exciting opportunity for both the American and Canadian Simmental Associations.
While the Canadian judging cards might have a space for written reasons and ours are only oral, the upper age on the junior group is 25 instead of 21, the cattle different — suited for a very different environment, and the scale smaller than ours, some things remained constant. The spirit and hope of Simmental breeders, young and old, in the US or in Canada remains constantly on a high. The welcoming demeanor of adults and quality of youth that are a product of a national cattle breed association remains something that can be duplicated by very few industries or activities.
The Simmental cattle industry is a big family. Simmental youth know how to work, and will be prepared to make it in the world and contribute to the future of the agricultural industry. That is a universal truth.