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Reach Beyond the Sky to Chase Your Dreams

August 12, 2022

by Libby Rushton, NJHA Communications Chair

On August 3-6, 92 National Junior Hereford Association (NJHA) members gathered in Billings, Montana for the 2022 Faces of Leadership Conference, where “The Sky’s the Limit”! As the newly elected communications chair of the NJHA, I wanted to share the highlights. We began our week with an inspiring opening keynote by Amanda Radke about finding our passion, and workshops led by our NJHA board members. We ended our first day with a tour of Mohican West and a night full of great cattle and great people!

The second day of our conference started with an early morning tour of OriGen beef genetics, and then we were off to L Bar W Cattle Company to tour their operation and hear from some great industry speakers. One of my favorite parts of the trip followed, as we went white water rafting on the Yellowstone River. Not only did we get to see some amazing scenery, but most of us also got to experience the cold and refreshing water of the Yellowstone River, after a couple of intense water fights. This day was one that truly captured the beauty and awe of the location we were all fortunate to be in.

On the last full day of our trip, we loaded buses for our tour of The Public Auction Yards. On this tour, we had the honor to hear from Joe Goggins, owner and auctioneer, as well as explore the historic yards. After returning to the hotel, our junior board hosted leadership workshops that were specially curated to push our junior members beyond their conceived limits of what leadership was. Then we all sat down with excitement to hear from our keynote speaker, Cheryl Mitchell.

Cheryl was in attendance throughout our entire trip, participating and watching as the attendees handled each situation throughout the conference. She took that experience and reminded us of all we had had the opportunity to witness throughout the week and spoke about how we could choose live our lives “Inside out or Outside in,” emphasizing the importantance of your own well-being in order to perform at the highest level you wish. Her inspirational words left us all with a feeling of gratitude for being a part of such a great event and pushed us to look at these stages in our lives as opportunities and to seize them. All our attendees were grateful for the opportunity to interact with Cheryl throughout the week and many were in shock that she was our speaker, considering she had been participating in everything, including the white water rafting.

Our last night in Montana was filled with excitement as we donned our best outfits and headed to Swift River Ranch for our Big Sky Dance. Before the boots hit the dance floor, one of our very own board members and newly elected vice chairman, Ralston Ripp, gave a reflectional keynote of our week together. Ralston reminded us that no dream is ever too far to achieve and to reach even beyond the sky when chasing your dreams, because their truly is no limit, if you just try. We ended our night out on the dance floor, and let me be the first to say, these Hereford juniors have some serious dance moves!

As I reflect on my last Faces of Leadership conference, I am amazed by each and every attendee I had the pleasure of meeting throughout the week. My favorite part of the event has always been getting the opportunity to connect with people from across the country and hear their stories, and every encounter reminded me of the incredible opportunity that is. This group of Hereford juniors has such determination and excitement for our industry. This year’s Faces of Leadership will hold some of my favorite memories for years to come. Thank you to every person who made this trip so special.