Beef, it’s what’s for dinner, as the advertising campaign says. Not exactly, a sophisticated slogan but beef isn’t precisely an elegant meal. It is, however, so much better than any other entre, especially when prepared correctly.
A nice big steak with just enough marbling to increase the taste is one of life’s great pleasures. How often has a steak dinner been the celebratory menu as a reward for a job well done?
In Madera County, there are two groups of people who not only raise beef cattle but advocate for the industry that too often comes under fire from the lawyers of animal rights groups such as PETA and others who do not understand that being a rancher is more than a vocation it is a lifestyle.
Recently I was honored to attend the Madera County Cattlemen’s Association fall dinner and a few days later the presentation of the Cowbelle of the Year from the Madera County Cattlewoman’s Association.
At the dinner the group honored three of its member, Cattleman of the Year Mike Alberta, Cowboy of the Year Chance Heppner and a special award to a Friend of Madera County Cattlemen, Dr. Ed LeTourneau, DVM, retired.
The Cattlewoman’s association awarded its highest honor, Cowbelle of the Year to Ann Romine Fahey.
At the cattlemen’s dinner, they also announced the recipients of the joint scholarships presented by the two groups.
Among the eligibility requirements for these college financial rewards is (1) be a graduate of a Madera County high school and (2) have plans to pursue an agriculture career path.
Four scholarships of $1,000 each were awarded to Brittany Andersen of Liberty High School; Riley Barney and Allison Tomlinson, both of Chowchilla High School; and Ryan McDougald of Minarets High School. Barnes also earned a merit-based additional $1,000 Millie Meders memorial scholarship.
Each of these students can reapply for an additional $1,000 per year for four years while a full-time college student.
The fall dinner is always a fun congratulatory evening with a hearty steak dinner prepared and served by Dr. Randy Perry, dean of the animal science department at California State University, Fresno, and the school’s Young Cattle Men’s Association. Dr. Perry has taught these young men and women how to prepare individual steaks cooked to perfection.
Many cattle people cringe when I order a steak well-done. I’m told it ruins the flavor of the meat, blah, blah, blah. It is the way I like it. My well-done steak was cooked to perfection, not burnt on the outside and cooked until it could have been used for shoe leather. This steak had just a smidgeon of char on the exterior, juicy and a uniform cooking all the way through.
The drinks at the party were hosted by David Gill and Clay Daulton; the table decorations created by Creatia Gill; silent auction organized by Jeanne Todisco and Betsy Cardoza; raffle prizes were organized by Michele Lasgoity and David Gill. The members of the Hillerman family, Bill, Connie and Cecil, set up the hall. E&J Gallo Winery donated wine, and Evans Feed and Livestock donated a certificate for the Cattleman’s hat and Cowboy.
This was the kind of party that can only be held in a tight-knit community. The type where a lady can put her handbag on her chair or lay her cell phone on the table, without worrying they will grow legs and walk away.
The cattle industry is one great big family, according to Cattleman of the Year Alberta. A cattleman can place a call out for help to build a fence or corral a herd that has wandered off. They help each other wherever they can. They work hard and play hard. Many of them are rodeo athletes.
I would like to offer a hearty thanks to Steve Copland for taking me to this event. Last year at the fall dinner, we realized since we both drove back and forth to the dinner in Coarsegold alone, we should ride together because company on that long dark drive makes the time fly by.
Capping-off the evening, my placemat had the secret sticker. I won the potted lavender daisy centerpiece. A very special thank you goes to Karen Galleano Evans for rescuing the plant for me. I told her if I took it home, it would die a slow, painful death. That is what happens to plants around me.
Long days and pleasant nights, andhave a good weekend.
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