Northwest Oklahoma Cattlemen's Foundation holds appreciation banquet
By Darrin Cline
The Northwest Oklahoma Cattlemen's Foundation hosted its annual Trade Show and Banquet in Woodward, Okla., on Oct. 30. The day's activities provided producers a chance to interact and honor outstanding achievements throughout the year, with a keynote speaker capping off the evening.
The association, which is made up of farmers and ranchers from a tri-county area along the state's western edge, provides producers opportunities to socialize and enhance their enterprises.
"We do it for the fellowship and the chance to have a good speaker, a good meal and a chance to meet with people at the trade show," said NOCF President Dennis Jenkins.
The afternoon banquet was kicked off with a trade show at the Woodward County Fairgrounds. Representatives from a variety of industries were on hand to meet with NOCF members.
Members were also invited to entertainment and a steak dinner following the trade show. The night's guest of honor, 2011 Miss Oklahoma Betty Thompson, took the stage to deliver her speech and discuss the impact farming has had on her life. According to Jenkins, they had heard Thompson discuss agriculture on a radio show in June and thought she'd be good for their banquet.
The Davenport, Okla., woman shared her experiences on the pageant circuit and the steps she took toward becoming Miss Oklahoma. Thompson grew up on a Jersey farm and still actively promotes the dairy industry. According to Thompson, the family's dairy farm began as "a 4-H project that just kind of got out of control."
"I learned at a young age that farm life came first. It didn't matter if it was Christmas, if it was snowing, if it was 100 degrees outside, those chores had to be done," Thompson said. "I love being able to come back to my ag roots and it's just in your blood when you're raised that way."
Thompson, who is pursuing degrees in Elementary Education and Ag Communications at Oklahoma State, jumped at the opportunity to speak to the cattlemen's event and aimed to connect with attendees young and old.
"I hope that the young students in the room took from me not to give up on their dreams and that they can accomplish anything and be anything they want to be," said Thompson. "I hope the rest of the audience took that we appreciate what the ag industry is doing; it's not just the economy, it really is shaping lives and everyone in that room is having an impact on the youths."
Awards were also given out for distinguished service. The Dale Minnick Award was awarded to Melvin Wilson; Wilson is a long-time cattleman and still actively participates in the beef industry in the region.
Nine scholarship winners were announced for qualifying students. Winners had to be high school students who plan on pursuing an ag-related degree in college, or current college students who are in good academic standing and already engaged in their collegiate studies.
Holley Jo Eike, Kaleb Smith, Kyle Covalt, John Easterwood, Emily Fanning, Brandi Blasdel, Darrell Nine, Mikel Gibson, and Carson Cooper were selected as this year's $1,000 scholarship recipients. According to the NOCF, they have awarded over $150,000 in scholarships.
The foundation also updated attendees on their annual NWOCA All Breed Bull and Cow Sale, which will be held on Nov. 13. Consignments are being taken and must be unloaded at the Woodward Livestock Auction on Nov. 11.