Imagine your states royal show. A huge event, people, animals, produce, entertainment, and lots of fun. Now imagine that show, but beef cattle themed. Yes sir, you have just imagined one of my favourite places ever!
Beef 2012 is an international exposition held every three years designed to celebrate the Australian beef industry. Naturally, it is held in Rockhampton, the beef capital of Australia.I can only imagine Beef2012 meant something different for everyone who attended. For me, it was so great to be surrounded by a) cattle, b) loads of BRAHMAN cattle, c) people who share my interest in the beef industry and d) all the workshops and seminars i got to attend (yeah, i’ve said it before, i am a nerd at heart….).I should explain that while Beefweek is to me like the best ever royal show, it is also fairly different from a royal show. I would have to say that Beefweek was aimed more at producers than consumers, but the education and entertainment was well balanced. The first few days of beefweek saw the international Brangus conference being held in Australia for the first time ever, as well as a huge genetics conference.
Back at the Rockhampton showgrounds, trade stalls lined the pathways and pavilions, but they were well outnumbered by the number of stud cattle being exhibited. I was super excited that the progeny of the show cattle from my college in the NT was being exhibited, and i got to have a cuddle with Bluehawks son, Storm, as he was having a snooze laying down. That’s what i love about Brolga cattle, you can go and sit down with them and chill out, they are so well natured.
Keeping in sync with my “slight” obsession with Brahmans, i was SUPER excited to find this USB at the Brahman breeders association tent! I bought 4! (only one was for me though, the rest were requests i got from friends!)
So i travelled to Rockhampton from Yarrie by myself (3 hrs to the airport and 3 flights to get there) but i was lucky that a friend of mine from college came up too.Bry is in her third year of production animal science at UQ Gatton, and i met her when i was at Gatton back in 2010. She is one of my “adoptive children” (because i am a few years older than her, back at college i designated myself as “mum”).
This here has to be one of my favourite pictures of the week. This steer was being used in a “guess the weight” competition. He was HUGE! As in actually the biggest beast i have ever seen, height wise. He was pretty lanky though, but my guess was that he was around 1200kg, i never ended up finding out though.
Seriously, look at the size of him next to those full grown men, and normal sized panels! Incredible!
Oh, by the way, i’m writing this post from my Brisbane- Perth flight (and now editing it from my Port Hedland to Perth flight), so i’m pretty much just going to add photos in and talk about them, so there won’t be any real “structure” to this post…
How cool is this little straw accessory that came with all Wendys drinks? It was attached to the straws, and i thought it was really cute! A great way for a company which is not in the beef industry to participate in beef week! I was really excited by the promotion, i have even kept my cardboard nose!
These are some pictures from the Great Western hotel in Rocky, where we went for dinner twice. It is by far the coolest pub i have been to in Qld, it has a rodeo arena out the back, and a helicopter hanging from the roof! The interior decor is awesome, plenty of beef/ horse/ country themed signage and photographs, and on one night we got to watch the rodeo practice. Man, watching a little 8 year old boy riding a weaner (young cow, think the equivalent of a teenage human) is one of the cutest things i have ever seen!
Gosh! Check out this snap! I was on the other side of the country and i still couldn’t escape my boss! (Kidding, i don’t want to escape! i swear!)
Here are some pictures from a horse shoeing demonstration and one of the many fashion parades during beef week. Ahh the fashion parade. On three times per day in the main pavilion, it was great, but i don’t know if all of the exhibitors thought so after they had seen it for the 100th time! There were some ADORABLE kids in it though, this teeny tiny maybe 5 year old boy that would strut out and start cracking a whip! I can’t even crack a whip! He had this confidence about him that demanded the audiences attention!
I took these pictures at the MLA social media workshop i attended. The first picture is of Ray Vella, a beef producer, 2012 Nuffield Scholar, and an active social media user. The second person is Matt Dwyer, the MLA media person (i don’t know his exact title but you get the gist!). As you are all aware, i am pretty active on social media, and i don’t need much training, but i wanted to attend the workshop to see how MLA were selling it as they have been investing in its promotion it lately. I was not only happy with the presentations Matt and Ray gave, but more so with the attendance. The workshop was to capacity, and asides from Matt, Ray and myself, only one other producer was using social media, which means the workshop attracted the exact people it was designed too- those wanting to learn how to use social media. After the workshop i stayed behind and helped two ladies sign up to twitter. I had never met them before, but i really enjoyed chatting with them and helping them set up their accounts, and expanding upon what the presentation covered, to ensure they gained the best value from using it.
The day after the workshop i was walking through the grounds when i was stopped by another producer who had attended the workshop, but only signed up to twitter that morning, and needed some pointers to get started. I actually really enjoyed chatting to him and helping him get started. We even discussed the options of what type of social media is best for his business, as he already had a facebook page, he decided he might also try and set up a blog. What made me really happy was, that between the workshop the previous afternoon, and lunchtime the next day, he had rounded up 10 other people in his town interested in learning about social media, and organised for MLA to put on another more intensive workshop.
In this picture are Stacey and Troy Hadrick, better known as the “Advocates for Agriculture”, two of our international speakers at Beef2012. Stacey and Troy are from South Dakota, in the states. Long story short, after a reporter wrote a less than flattering (and highly inaccurate) story about their ranch in the New York Times, they decided they would be the only people to tell their story. They advocate for the agricultural industry and its people, helping producers share their positive stories with the consumer, and i guess, at risk of me using the all-mighty buzz word, bridge the urban-rural divide. Stacey and Troy ran a workshop at the milk tooth muster breakfast on the last day of beef2012, and after i had participated in the workshop with Charlie Arnott at the Influential women forum in Broome, i was super excited to continue learning from these guys. They are really engaging presenters, and it was great to see the majority of the attendees participating without any coaxing!
Another person who spoke at the milk tooth muster was Rob Cook. Rob lives on the most isolated cattle station in Australia, and 3 years ago he was badly injured in a helicopter accident, which left him a quadriplegic. Rob’s presentation really got my emotions running, as beefweek was the one year anniversary of when an old mustering pilot friend of mine died in a helicopter accident. I spent a fair part of the presentation trying not to bawl my eyes out. Rob however, is one of those people who haven’t given up on life just because it got bloody hard. He has made a decision to be thankful for the fact that he survived the accident, and continue treasuring every moment. Sure he has good days and bad days, and i can not even begin to imagine what a bad day is like. I am so grateful that i got the chance to attend his presentation, as i feel i have come away with something. I’m not sure what, or how to describe it, but all i know is Robs presentation has left an impact on me.
Now now all work and no play wouldn’t make for a fun week would it? Here in this picture are three of the girls i know from the Future Farmers Network having their picture snapped with Georgies new RM Williams hat. Each night the XXXX bar was open at the showgrounds, and it was a great place to unwind and catch up with friends. On the Friday night the Hats and Heels cocktail ball was hosted in the centre arena, and it was a great success, with around 500 tickets being sold.
This first picture is of Rose Glasser and I. Rose is one of the people profiled on my Careers in Australian Agriculture website, and i had just met her the night before at the Future Farmers Network catch up party. It’s so nice to finally meet people you “know” via email/ twitter in person.
Here i am with Kate, Bindi and Bec, at the Hats and Heels cocktail ball. I met these girls at the Roma Young Beef producers forum last year, and they are lots of fun! Again, it is nice to be able to hang out with people you interact with so much via email etc.
So while the last day of beefweek was on Friday, Saturday night was the grand ball. I wasn’t intending to go, but was offered a ticket that morning and upon deciding to purchase it, i embarked on a very expensive day! You see, i had to go buy a new dress, get my hair done, buy some jewellery and i might have gotten a pedicure….! (It was a bloody expensive day!)
I have to say, this is only the second pedicure i have EVER gotten in my life, and i really do find them so arkward!! Seriously! I only got this one done because i had 40 minutes to kill before my hair appointment and the massage chairs you get to sit in during the pedicure are to DIE for…. so amazing! But seriously, i feel like such a snob getting it done- like “here clean my feet and paint my toenails” etc. Why does the pedicure have to be so detailed, why do they have to massage your legs? Your legs have nothing to do with your feet!? I’d be happy with just having my toenails painted, not my feet scrubbed. It is super awkward, but what can you do? Avoid them? Well i always did until just before i moved to Yarrie when i got my first one ever done!
The girls in this picture are two of the most lovely girls i have ever met, Tahnee and Karen. I met them at the cocktail party the night before, as Karen had been following me on twitter. We hit it off, and i was so grateful they let me get ready for the ball at their house, because gala balls and tent city do NOT go together! How cool does Tahnees hair look by the way? Karen did it!
This is my friend Craig from northern Qld. I met Craig at UNE last year, when i was doing the animal nutrition course. I didn’t know anyone, and at morning break he was sitting by himself so i went over and said hi. Now, i don’t normally go and talk to strangers, but on the first day he was wearing boots, jeans, a shirt and windbreaker, so i figured he was somehow involved with beef production, and thus a safe person to talk to… hahah! Oh Steph, really? Judging people by their clothes? haha! Craigs farm runs Brahman cattle, which of course i found super exciting (cant wait to have my own in about 100 years!). Anyway, this is what i love about our industry, you can make friends so easily, and even if you dont see them for ages, its like no time has passed at all.
Well i just had to throw this photo in, as everyone loves a bathroom selfy!
Here i am with Bec, from the Future Farmers Network board. She also goes by the name “yummy mummy” as she has 3 adorable kids, which you cant tell by looking at her!
Now i swear im not such a BFG! But Bec and Bindi make me look a weeeee bit giant in this snap.
Here is a shot of the band on stage, and of course the bar. Oh the bar. So many spirits! I think it’s safe to say that the Bundy was getting a fair hammering that night, after all we were in Queensland, and this was a beef industry event.
>Mmmm just looking at this picture makes me hungry. This was our entree, the only meal i ended up taking a picture of. It was sooo yummy! The main meal was amazing, a lovely steak. I was a little surprised that we werent told whose beef it was, i thought for sure that there would be menus on the table listing what we were eating, this event would have been great exposure for a producer or processor. However, with over 1200 guests, im guessing all the steaks didnt come from the same place? I dont know? But i was expecting something along the lines of “tonight we are eating 150 day grain fed beef from Rangers Valley” or “this is a prime example of organic Australian grass fed beef” etc. You know what i mean? Either way it was YUMMY!
Back to the entertainment! As the mains came out this acrobatic couple started performing, leaving guest with a hard decision to make- watch this breathtaking performance and let your steak go cold, or eat your steak and risk missing out on seeing what the audience are gasping about!
I had an AMAZING time at beef2012. I’m thoroughly exhausted, and finishing this post on my PHE-PER flight. It was only yesterday afternoon that i made it back to Yarrie, only to pack my bags and head right back the the airport.You see, at Beef2012, i was offered the opportunity to work upon a live export vessel. That, for me, was by far the highlight of beef2012!!
Even better, i am allowed to write a blog post about it when i return. So, as i said in my previous post annoucing this news, i will be offline completely until early June. Bon Voyage amigos!