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Impressions from a Newbie

4 May 2024 5:04 PM | Anonymous

Natalie Cartwright 's observations after attending the Miniature Hereford Junior Nationals® for the first time in 2023.  

Impressions from a Newbie

This year’s 2023 Miniature Hereford Junior Nationals was a blast! It was my first year attending and I have to say that it has been one of my top highlights from this summer. To begin with, I thought the venue MHJN was held at was great; it felt very spacious, but at the same time, condensed enough that it wasn’t too much of a hike to retrieve the cattle or to grab something from the truck. You could say that the Saline County Livestock & Expo Center was the just right kind of porridge, if you know what I mean!

In addition to this being my first Junior Nationals, this is also my first year as an MHBA Regional Ambassador, and so coming into this week-long event, I was feeling a little stressed knowing that I would be interacting with peers and families and coordinators that I didn’t know very well. I was kind of afraid of being in the way rather than being helpful because I lacked the experience of the other ambassadors and royalty. However, when I actually arrived in Salina and jumped in to help with check-ins on the first day, I realized how sweet everyone was; I had worried for nothing! After that morning, I was eager to assist in any way I could and I really enjoyed getting to know the exhibitors better by doing so. I got to see everyone’s hard work throughout MHJN as well as the results of all of the preparation people had made for this show.

I reflected that Miniature Hereford Junior Nationals was different from other cattle shows in that there were so many activities and contests other than showing to participate in, which I thought was special! I especially loved the trip to the waterpark. After a hot day, a dip in the pool was just what I needed and I thought having it on Tuesday was a wonderful idea because by then, I was familiar with many of the faces at the park and had made a couple friends to enjoy it with too! As far as the contests go, I really wanted to embrace the full experience and so I signed up for the Photography, Written Expression, Traditional Media, Performing Arts & Digital Media, Prepared Speech, Educational Display, Cattle Judging, and Team Fitting Contests. If you haven’t had the chance to try these out, I encourage you to go for it! I had a whale of a time doing each one; even Team Fitting, despite never having fit a cow before! I was blessed with a very knowledgeable and incredibly patient and easygoing team. I hope they know how much their willingness to share their expertise and the level of welcoming energy they exhibited meant to me!

Junior Nationals was an experience for me like no other I’ve had before and I am so delighted to have come along this year. I had such a wonderful time and truly felt like a part of the family you all are. There were so many memories made, so thank you to everyone that worked to put on this event, it was beautifully planned and executed, and a thank you to everyone that was there, you were the best part of the event! Also, a humongous thank you to Brian and Diane Jex for EVERYTHING you’ve done for me! Your generosity baffles me and I can’t tell you how grateful I am to know such amazing people like yourselves, who would open a door for me to be a part of this organization. The MHBA sure is a wonderful one!

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