For the past six years, Amanda Lohmann hasn't been home to blow out the candles on her birthday cake. Instead, her July 17 birthday is celebrated with family among hay bales, cattle feed, lawn chairs and about 1,000 head of Angus cattle.
But the birthday is almost an afterthought. It's the competition and camaraderie that keep her away from home each July as the Lohmann family, from Lecompton, attends the National Junior Angus Show.
This year's event, the largest single-breed beef cattle show in the world, was hosted by the Missouri Junior Angus Assn. July 16-20 at the American Royal. About 700 kids from 32 states entered the show and brought about 1,000 head of Angus cattle to be judged. Educational programs were also a part of the week's events.
Amanda was one of about 45 Kansas youths to compete, and she is the second in her family to show, behind her older brother, Benjamin. The family has been involved in Angus cattle since 1987 and works each day with the animals to ready them for the year-round shows.
"But hanging out is more fun," Amanda said. "And seeing the Wrangler butts go by." She insists it's the friends and competition that bring her back. "I like competing and seeing comparisons," she said.
"This gives you an opportunity to see the finished product," said Michael Lohmann, Amanda's father. "You just hope to come down here and be able to compete."
Kansas finished in the top 5 percent in the educational contests and in the top 25 percent in the cattle judging. Other area youths attending were Drew Perrin, 12, from Tonganoxie, who finished sixth in his class in Owned Heifers; Nancy Sproul, 15, from McLouth, who finished 11th in her class in Owned Heifers, and Tyson Russell, 14, from Baldwin, who finished sixth in his class in Owned Heifers.