As Seen in the NJHA Advantage Newsletter

By Jason May, NJHA Board Member
As I approach the end of my three years on the National Junior Hereford Association (NJHA) board of directors, and the end of my junior career, I would like to thank everyone who has helped me achieve everything I have. Under most circumstances you want to thank your parents, family, friends, etc., however, my list tends to be a little bit different than most. The Sullivan family is one of the first on that list. It is not only the supplies I have become so fond of, but the family from Dunlap, Iowa, and Hillsboro, Texas.

When I was a little boy I would lay up in my bed late at night and dream of things I wanted to do. Most kids dream of baseball and super bowls, I dreamt of being one of the best fitters in the world and showing the best cattle. When I was 10 this was just a dream, then a role model of mine named “Roach,” walked into my life. Roach is one of the Sullivan brothers, and over the past eight years this family has changed my life. In 2009, I was asked to come and help at a camp for younger 4-H members in Minnesota. Months later, I first heard the words Stock Show University (SSU). Instantly, I knew this was the greatest idea the Sullivan’s had ever had. A few months later I was asked back to help at one of the first weekend-long events that would soon take this country by storm.

When John Sullivan met with us that morning before the kids arrived, he discussed with us what the intentions of this event were. I knew right at that moment this program was going to change so many lives for the better. The passion and dedication he demonstrated for the program that first day was amazing to watch. John talked to every single kid at that event throughout the two days and truly made a connection with everyone there.

As time went on since that first event, SSU has spiraled into the greatest teaching event in the livestock industry. This program gives kids the opportunity to learn from some of the best in the country. Many of these professors worked to get where they are and most of them learned it the hard way. When I was in Illinois two weeks ago I watched a gentleman that was there helping Sullivan’s, stop what he was doing and went to help a complete stranger out. He told this young man how good of a job he was doing and what he needed to do next. This example reminds me just how great this industry is, and how lucky every young showman is for the opportunity to meet these exceptional people at an SSU program. Even being asked to help with these programs, I feel extremely privileged to receive the opportunity to work close to the best in the industry. I always tell people two things, I wish we had SSU camps when I was just starting out, and how I want to go to a two-day camp now, at 21. I feel that no age can slow you down from learning and you never are perfect, and SSU gives me that opportunity to get better every day.

To many it would shock you to know how much an SSU two-day camp cost Sullivans or that they pay for most of them all on their own. It is amazing to see that a family has given so much back to the youth. Sullivan Supply has even gone as far as to offer 20, $1,000 scholarships to students furthering their education. I was extremely honored to receive one of these scholarships and could never thank the Sullivan family enough for what they have done in my life, and every other junior in the country they have touched. The Sullivans don’t do this all on their own; they surround themselves with good people. The employees of the supply company, farm employees, or just good friends that the family has, they have all made a huge impact to the Sullivan name and how they are seen. This family is honestly one of the best I have ever met; I would like to say from the entire junior livestock industry, thank you for everything you do. You are truly a class act Sullivans.

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