My Maroon Jacket Story

September 12, 2021

by Wesley Denton, NJHA Director

My story started 12 years ago at my first Junior National Hereford Expo, I have always admired the NJHA Board and looked to them as influential leaders and role models. For as long as I can remember, I have had the goal to someday become a NJHA Director and strive to be like the leaders who helped shape my experience in the NJHA. I hope that as a NJHA Director I can have that same impact on other juniors. I believe mentoring and leadership is a building block to an individual’s success, and I want to lead by example serving our great organization.

Looking back at the months leading up to the 2021 Junior National Hereford Expo I spent numerous hours working on my application, practicing my speech, and preparing for interviews. But what prepared me the most is my involvement in the association outside of the ring. Whether that be doing speech contest, going to Faces of Leadership or serving on the board for the Kansas Junior Hereford Association. The night of the Maroon Jacket Ceremony when Samuel Lawrence handed me his jacket it all came full circle, and I realized my hard work paid off and I would have the opportunity to make an impact on the next generation of juniors just like those before me.

As a National Junior Hereford Association member, I have competed in contests and shows, and was able to win a few awards while building my cow herd. While I am proud of my accomplishments, I now realize the most valuable lessons I learned in the NJHA have nothing to do with the awards hanging on my walls. Showing and raising Hereford cattle taught me how to keep records, how to lose with grace, and that there are always opportunities to improve. Being an NJHA member has helped me increase my confidence, enhance my public speaking skills, and has greatly impacted the person I am today and who I strive to be. These lessons were the foundation of my desire to pursue a position on the National Junior Hereford Board of Directors. My goals as I shared during my candidacy as an NJHA director are to serve with integrity, leadership, and a hard-working hand.

Vince Lombardi once said, “The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.” I have always strived to live my life by this quote and as I wear the maroon jacket serving you and this great organization it will continue to be my motto.