In 1980, a group of young Brahman showmen and women headed to Baton Rouge, Louisiana for the first ever “All American” show. At that time the American Junior Brahman Association did not even exist. These young future AJBA members and their families traveled from four states to compete at this new show. Many had never shown outside of their state before and felt this journey was a tremendous moment in their show career.
The exhibitors and their cattle spent four days at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge forming the new association and competing for the first time on a national level. Over the years the “All-American” has changed and grown, but it has always been a place where families come together to spend time with the Brahman community.
The first “All-American” show had 285 entries and the ABBA is estimating around 1,000 entries for the 2020 show. Sara Lindley Allen was at the first show in 1980, and she has seen the event grow and develop into what it is today. Sara won Reserve Grand Champion Bull at the first show with BDL JACK SA DE MANSO 52. Back then she was excited to have something like the “All–American” to attend.
“I was in the 8th grade and I remember being so excited because this was the biggest thing we had ever done,” Sara said. “Back then most people couldn’t travel to every show like people do today. A trip that far traveling with cattle was a challenge for my family so we traveled with Tammie Watts and her family. The crazy thing is Tammie received Grand Champion Bull with WR REX V SUVA 204, so that made for a good ride home back to Texas.”
The first show did not have all the contests that they hold today, but Sara feels that these contests have only helped the Juniors learn life skills for the Brahman breed.
“There is a lot of tradition to the event and over the years as more opportunities have become available it has helped develop important skills in these kids,” Sara explains. “This has helped grow our breed for the better.”
Judd Cullers, a judge and owner of Heritage Cattle Company, was just eleven years old when he went to the first “All–American” in Baton Rouge. He took the Reserve Grand Champion Female honors with JDH QUEEN TONYA MANSO 21/1.
Judd also remembers how important the trip to the first “All-American” was, as it would be the first time he would show outside of the state of Texas.
“I was really excited, but also nervous until I saw other kids my age showing Brahmans from different states and it was nice to see other kids like me,” Judd said.
The facility that the Juniors showed in was also a new experience because it was the first air conditioned arena he had been in to show cattle.
“The animals had never been in A/C before so we were going from really hot conditions to inside with the A/C,” Judd remembers. “That made all the cattle a little bit jumpy during the show.”
Over the years Judd said he has enjoyed being able to go to the “All–American” and catch up with friends. He remembers meeting Craig Fontenot, Tammie Watts, and several others for the first time that year.
“It seemed like every year after that we set our family vacation around going to the ‘All–American’ to see friends and enjoy being around people in the breed,” Judd said.
In 1985, the 5th “All–American” was held in Lufkin, Texas. At this “All–American” the AJBA offered something different than the ones in the past; this was the first year for the “Bred and Owned” show. The “Bred and Owned” show was created for Juniors to learn the ins-and-outs of breeding and to receive recognition for their herds.
Jennifer Collins Parker won back-to-back Grand Champion Female honors in both 1985 and 1986 in the “Bred and Owned” show with her MISS CBR MAYRO 117. She dominated the “Bred and Owned” show in those early years, as she also won Grand Champion Gray Female in the 1987 “Bred and Owned” show, this time with MISS CBR 142/6, who was a calf out of MISS CBR MAYRO 117. That was the first year the AJBA split the show into Gray and Red “Bred and Owned” divisions.
“Showing in general teaches you responsibility and many great life skills, but the ‘Bred and Owned’ show taught me how to mate each animal to bring out the best animal I could with the least flaws,” Jennifer said. “The basic cattle knowledge and breeding practices I learned from the ‘Bred and Owned’ show helped me with my future herd.”
Terri Husfeld Smarr won Grand Reserve Champion Female in the 1985 “Bred and Owned” show with her entry DCH MISS AGGIE MANSO 311. Terri was also the 1984 AJBA Queen, so she represented the AJBA at the World Brahman Congress in 1984. These experiences allowed her to meet new people and, a shy person by nature, it helped her gain more confidence.
“The friendships and camaraderie is what I remember from the ‘All–American’,” Terri said. “We met people from different states, and they became really good life long friends.” Everyone will agree that the “All–American” is a chance for people to come together and create lasting memories.
“This is an opportunity for Brahman families from all over the USA to come together and participate in an event that is completely focused on the kids and the future of the breed,” Sara Lindley Allen said.
The Brahman Journal staff wishes everyone good luck at the “All–American” and looks forward to seeing everyone there!