AJSA Intern, Dakota Thomas-Giving Back
By Emme Troendle
Dakota Thomas’s roots, passion for cattle classics, and desire to give back, feed her love for the cattle industry. In an interview, Dakota, the 2015 AJSA Intern, says, “When you grow up raising livestock, showing on the local, state, and national level, the lifestyle becomes an addiction, and being involved with cattle shows is what I want to do. ” As a born and raised Wisconsin cattlewoman, Dakota’s Simmental roots reach back to her grandfather Robert Thomas, an ASA member since 1972 and founding member of the Wisconsin Simmental Association.
For the summer internship, Dakota works out of the ASA national headquarters, and travels to the AJSA Classic Contests with Hannah Wine, Director, Media, Youth & PTP Programs. Dakota describes the AJSA internship as a little bit of everything she likes, “What I enjoy about the internship is that I’m doing what the Director does. Granted, there is a lot of copying and stapling involved, but I’m not the forgotten Intern in the corner. I’m helping out with the main events. I go to the Classic contests representing the face of ASA, and help out at the Simmental Classics where I used to show.”
As the Intern, Dakota helps prepare for the all four of the Regional Classic Contests and the National Classic Contest in Texas. At the AJSA headquarters, she assists Hannah with writing and designing the materials for the Classics. She also handles printing and mailing the materials for the cattleman’s quizzes, score sheets for sales talks, and public speaking cards, and judging card packaging. At the Classic Contests, she assisted in the check-ins, the scoring, and during the Cattle Show and the Showmanship she takes photos or assists in the ring.
When asked about her experience at two different events, Dakota stated, “I really enjoy being the person on the other side of Classic contests. I’m the person who exhibitors go to with their questions or concerns versus when I used to be the exhibitor going the coordinator. Growing up raising cattle and participating in AJSA you learn a lot more than just showing — you learn a lot about values. People say ‘they were raised on a farm’, but I fully believe the farm raised me — showing cattle raised me. Being the AJSA Intern, I get to help foster our next generation, and help them learn what it means to have morals, values, and hard work. I like being that person to give back to the Association and the next generation.”
Dakota currently attends South Dakota State University (SDSU) where she is earning a Bachelors of Science in Agricultural Communications with minors in Animal Science, Advertising, Marketing, and Journalism. At SDSU, Dakota is the student founder of SDSU Agriculture Communications of Tomorrow Club, was a member of the 2014 SDSU Livestock Judging Team, and is the Executive Chair of the SDSU Blocks & Bridle /Alpha Gamma Rho Jackrabbit Memorial jackpot show. Dakota likes to hobby in photography and design in her free time.