Nebraska Angus Association prepares “top beef” at Cattlemen’s Classic
The Battle of the Breeds is a social event for ranchers and consumers that is held as a kick-off to the cattle events that start midweek during the Nebraska Cattlemen’s Classic. In addition to sampling some of the best beef Nebraska has to offer, it is an opportunity for consumers to learn more about the beef industry. “They’ll be demonstrating and promoting their breed associations, and highlighting all the benefits they have for cattlemen,” said Ronette Heinrich prior to the event. Heinrich is the general manager for the Cattlemen’s Classic.
The breed associations set up displays in the cattle show ring, where they hand out recipes, information about their breed and answer questions during the event. Each group is also required to prepare their favorite recipe and serve samples of it to the public. The public votes for their favorite beef sample and the best display.
“They’ve all been challenged,” Heinrich said before the event. “They’ll be cooking their favorite beef recipes, and battling it out to see who has the best beef in the show ring, as well as who has the most hospitality here at the Cattlemen’s Classic.”
The Nebraska Angus Association once again took top honors this year for the best beef sample during the second annual competition. The group served steak samples on soft taco shells. The steak was seasoned with Jim Baldridge’s secret seasoning to give it an extra kick. The Piedmontese Association was voted the winner of the best display and hospitality.
This year’s event featured recipes from the Simmental, Charolais, Piedmontese, Red Angus, Hereford, Gelbvieh and Angus associations. Consumers sampled recipes ranging from steak, roast beef sandwiches and sliders, to nachos and kabobs.
“It is an opportunity to promote the product we raise, and we get to share that product with the community, and a little different clientele than we normally do,” according to Scott Herrick of the Nebraska Simmental Association.
“The diversity of the breeds is what really keeps the industry going,” said Katie Oschner, who is a commercial marketing specialist for the American Red Angus Association. “Although the breed associations compete to a certain extent, the goal of all the beef breed associations is to improve the value of beef cattle and to provide the best beef product possible to consumers.”
Joe Finegan with the Certified Piedmontese Association said the Battle of the Breeds also allows them to raise more awareness about the Piedmontese breed, since they are more of a niche program. “We are here to educate people about our breed, and let them try our product,” he said. “We have a very lean product, and this event allows us to hand out brochures and tell our story.”
“It is also an opportunity to educate people about the different programs we have to offer,” he said. “We are vertically-integrated with Lone Creek Cattle Co., which is the live-side of our product,” he added.
After serving a few hundred samples to hungry customers, Melissa Buehler, the executive director for the Nebraska Hereford Association, said the event allows her association to meet one-on-one with consumers and answer their questions. “It is a good promotion for certified Hereford beef,” she said. ❖
— Teresa Clark is a freelance livestock journalist from western Nebraska. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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