Be Enthused

August 20, 2020

By Ralston Ripp, NJHA Director

Mark Twain once said, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” For me, April 25 is the first most significant day of my 20 years of life as it signifies my beginning to it all. I could go on to say my first day of kindergarten, high school and college are the next most important days, as they are milestone measurements in most all lives. However, I view significant days more as significant moments.

Important days in my life are filled with the memories of sitting in my grandparent’s milk barn, watching hard work and sweat pay off. Now, I’ve seen my grandpa live to be a true cattleman and find joy in feeding cattle, even when his days may not go as planned. Monumental days for me are the early mornings and late nights spent in our family’s big red barn. I played with kitties in the hayloft and observed my sister work hair from above, taking in every detail until it was my turn. When my time came, I learned compassion with my first Hereford steer, Dufis, and patience as he really lived up to his name. I laughed, shed tears, worked ’til my hands were sore and shared life conversations with my grandma, mom and sister in the back of that red barn. Those moments shaped me and still make up my days. They are the building blocks of my journey, which led me to where I am today and to wherever I may go next.

I am excited and humbled to be a member of the Hereford family and serve juniors, breeders and beef enthusiasts across the nation as a National Junior Hereford Association (NJHA) director. I grew up in the town of Kearney, Neb., but much rather say I am a small-town, rural-America-loving individual who grew up in the back of a big red barn. As I strive to live in every moment and soak in every second, I am often reminded of a conversation I shared with a wise woman from Texas, Minnie-Lou Bradley. When I asked for a few minutes of her time to visit about the beef industry and her adventure in it she told me she was a has-been and my time may be spent better with someone more currently involved. I promptly told her I wanted to hear her story foremost.

After a 1 1/2 hour phone call, a specific quote I think of daily is, “I will be enthused ’til the day I die.” Minnie was referring to the beef and agriculture industry and life completely. After I reflect on Minnie’s quote and think about the one I began this blog with, I strongly believe there are more important days in our lives than just two. Every moment is pivotal. And the past, present and future are keepers of many moments to be enthused about.

Almost a month ago, my path and journey was altered forever as I was given the opportunity to visit with Hereford youth across the nation. Visiting with Abigail and Caleb, I was excited to hear of rich history from their home state and how much they adored it and their personal stories. I built friendships and shared belly laughs with Ethan and his pals from across the states. I saw passion in the eyes of Madison and Salem and cannot wait to see them make a difference in all they desire. These new friendships and moments add to the fire in my belly and love of life. You see, I am a lover of tradition and a continual searcher of my “why.” Minnie and her wise words remind me to be excited to live in every second and to be enthused and trusting of what the future holds. I believe we can all appreciate “being enthused ’til the day we die” and living in the moment, instead of being side tracked trying to find the “why,” rather than letting enthusiasm bring our “why” to us. I cannot wait to cherish more moments and look forward to creating everlasting, exciting memories and valued days in the Hereford breed.