By: Taylor Gazda Stipe
Growing up, I attended a small private school where my friends with very little ag background jokingly referred to my sister and me as “queens of the cows.” Little did they know, there are queens in the cattle industry and these real-life royal highnesses are far more than just a crown and a sash.
For decades, beef breed associations have crowned young ladies to present awards at national shows, mentor junior members and most importantly, serve as an ambassador for their specific breed. As a part of National Beef Month, we’d like to recognize three of the most well-known national queens!
The National Hereford Queen
Since 1955, polished white boots have graced the Hereford show ring representing the breed and its producers from across the country. Each October, state queens are selected to represent their respective state in the National Hereford Queen Contest held in conjunction with the American Royal. In addition to attending shows and sales throughout the year, the National Hereford Queen hosts a Queens Tea at the Junior National Hereford Expo and serves as a role model for the young girls of the National Junior Hereford Association.
The National Shorthorn Lassie
A title that is rich with history, the National Shorthorn Lassie Queen is well-known for her traditional Scottish dress. The Shorthorn Lassies, a women’s auxiliary of the National Shorthorn Association, was first organized at Chicago International Livestock Show in 1956. The National Shorthorn Lassie Queen is crowned each year during the North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, Kentucky.
Miss American Angus
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Miss American Angus standing ringside in red. Like many queen programs, Miss American Angus was started by the American Angus Auxiliary as a scholarship program for the youth of the Angus breed. Each summer at the National Junior Angus Show, the Auxiliary awards 10 scholarships. Five to young men and five to young women. Those young women go on to compete for the title of Miss American Angus at the National Angus Convention in November.
Although I myself never held the title of Miss American Angus, I did have the privilege of serving as Miss Georgia Angus alongside my sister as she served as Miss American Angus. I’ll spare you the pictures our mother made us take 😉 During that year we also hosted the National Junior Angus Show in Perry, Georgia. It was truly an amazing year of Angus activities for the “Gazda Girls” and one that I will always remember.
Though we only touched on three, there are many more national queens that proudly represent their breeds each year. What makes these programs so great isn’t the crown and it isn’t the sash, but the opportunity to represent the breed you love while being a role model to the youth of your association. How about that for a happily ever after?