Miss American Angus: A crowning achievement

Farm Forum

Illinois native Keegan Cassady named 2017 Miss American Angus during the Angus Convention in Indianapolis, Ind.

Miss American Angus, with her sparkling tiara and bold red jacket, represents a promise for the future of the Angus breed. The newly crowned 2017 Miss American Angus, Keegan Cassady, Bloomington, Ill., impressed the judges with her genuine passion for the business breed and love of its people.

“I absolutely love the warmth of the Angus breeders,” Cassady says. “It’s a community you can’t find anywhere else. They’re so passionate about their breed, and it’s great to come together at events like the Angus Convention to get to know one another.”

The Miss American Angus competition, hosted by the American Angus Auxiliary, took place during the 2016 Angus Convention Nov. 5-7 in Indianapolis, Ind. The crowning ceremony was a highly anticipated event during the American Angus Association’s Awards Recognition Breakfast.

A tradition nearly 50 years in the making, five outstanding young ladies compete each year for an opportunity to serve the Angus breed as a spokesperson across the country. The program provides one Angus junior the opportunity to serve the breed and assist with shows, educational events and field days to educate others about the beef industry and benefits of Angus genetics.

“Miss American Angus is more than a crown and sash, she’s someone who is knowledgeable about the Angus breed and is a strong role model for younger members,” Cassady says. “I’m looking forward to serving as that representative for the Angus breed in the coming year, and being an advocate for our industry.”

A freshman at Oklahoma State University, Cassady studies animal science and agricultural communications. She is the daughter of Jerry Cassady and Erica Johnson. Being involved with the Angus breed and the American Angus Association “just runs in our blood,” Cassady says of her family and life spent raising cattle.

An active member of the National Junior Angus Association (NJAA), Cassady attributes the youth organization for helping her develop vital leadership skills for the future. She’s participated in nearly every contest offered at the National Junior Angus Show (NJAS) and attended several Leaders Engaged in Angus Development (LEAD) conferences.

“I wouldn’t be where I am today without everything that the National Junior Angus Association has offered to me,” Cassady says. “Leadership is about being a team player and working together to make your organization better as a whole. I’ve made the best of friends throughout this experience.”

Five finalists were chosen for the Miss American Angus Contest through the Auxiliary’s scholarship application process.

While in Indianapolis, Ind., for the Angus Convention, the young women completed a written test, delivered a speech and interviewed with the panel of three judges. Bruce Everhart, Waldron, Ind.; Betsie Ebert Michael, Fishersville, Va.; and Tonya Phillips, Maysville, Ky., served as judges for this year’s event.

It’s a competitive process, and one that hundreds of young NJAA members have aspired to through the years.

When she was 12 years old, Cassady remembers attending the NJAS and seeing Miss American Angus for the first time: “She had such presence in the ring, and I was in awe of her confidence and poise. Ever since that moment, I’ve hoped to be that role model for younger members.”

Additional finalists during this year’s competition included Sara Hatlewick, Jamestown, N.D.; Hayley DeHaan, McMinnville, Ore.; Reba Colin, Butler, Mo.; and Hannah Steph, Tatum, Texas.

Cassady succeeds 2016 Miss American Angus Jera Pipkin, Republic, Mo. To learn more about the Miss American Angus program, visit www.angusauxiliary.com.