Getting to know your flight attendants

ASA passengers! Get to know your flight attendants (interns) a little more by learning about some of their favorite things and silly quirks.


What’s the farthest you’ve ever been from home?


I traveled to west and south Australia on a cattle tour in 2011, where I went ‘Roo’ hunting and found my love for Tim Tams.


I just spent the last semester studying and interning in Sydney, Australia so I would guess that would have to be it.


I have traveled to two islands in Hawaii, Honolulu and Maui twice.


What quirks do you have?


I sing all the time, loudly, in front of people I don’t know and sometimes not on key…okay most of the time.

I tend to quote lines from movies for day-to-day activities. Most of the time people haven’t seen the movie so I just end up looking crazy.

I’m pretty good at speaking in accents, they always start really good but for some reason they always end up in Russian. Every time. Without fail. No idea why.


I’m always leaving the fridge open when I am in the kitchen.

I tend to get really crabby if anyone wakes me up from a nap.


I get tired of songs very often so I am constantly switching them on a long road trip.



What are you addicted to?


Corgis, naps, Shania Twain and coffee.


Vanilla Iced Coffee, avocados, corgis and Shameless.


Netflix, Looking at puppies, Tacos and Sweet Tea.


What are three interesting facts about you?


I love to travel and between cattle tours and study abroad trips I have been to six countries including Canada, Costa Rica, England, Ireland, Spain and Australia.

I grew up showing in the South Devon Association and have attended every Junior Nationals since the Junior Association was formed 16 years ago.

I am freakishly good at guessing Disney songs within the first note, no one can ever beat me at ‘guess the movie’ Disney version.


I only have about 70% of my hearing which has caused me to naturally be a loud talker.

I rode an elephant through the jungle in Bali, Indonesia.

I very much dislike chocolate.


I have a strange fear of needles and blood.

I dislike spicy food even though I love Mexican food.

I can quote probably every word to Remember the Titans.







Our names are Leah, Emily and Emma and we will be your flight attendants (interns) for this summer. We are busy preparing for this year’s Junior Nationals, who’s ready to TAKE FLIGHT WITH RED, ROAN AND WHITE?! Our entertainment for this flight will be Top Gun, featuring the hunky Tom Cruise. The flight attendants and the rest of the flight crew here at ASA have been busy preparing for this coming journey to NJSS, prepare for take-off!

Flight attendant Leah:

This first week has ‘flown’ by and I have been loving working with Emily, Emma and everyone else in the office, it is a really fun work environment and I am so glad to be a part of it. I have been busy working on the exhibitor folder for this year’s junior nationals and also working with the Associations social media pages (Go give them a like!) So far, we haven’t explored Kansas City a lot but I am excited to play tourist this weekend and try some KC Barbecue. I can’t wait to ‘take-off’ for Tulsa and help make it a fun-filled experience for everyone attending, with us hard at work there should be no expected turbulence!

Flight Attendant Emily:

This week has gone by with little to no turbulence. I have been busy planning activities and getting contest stuff ready for the juniors to participate in at NJSS. It’s going to be a packed full trip and I can’t wait to be along for the journey with the rest of you. Along with planning fun filed activities, I have been working hard to make sure all the scholarship applications were perfect before being sent out to be judged. This was really easy with the help from the amazing staff here at the ASA. I have had many different tasks to work on so far and hope to make this year’s NJSS one of the best yet. I am also excited about getting to be tourist this weekend and get to go visit the rest of KC with my awesome flight attendants (interns).  Fasten your seatbelts and enjoy the ride.

Flight Attendant Emma:

Hey Everyone, I hope your booking process (Entries) has been stress free and you are ready for a fun filled week in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I have been busy this week sorting through exhibitors and cattle to make sure everyone is accommodated properly.  I have spent four days staring at Excel sheets, by now I feel like I can personally tell you every single person aboard our flight (Attending Junior Nationals). Be on the look-out for a confirmation email for me in the next week confirming your trip (Entries). We have a great staff onboard here at ASA; Shelby, Montie, and everyone else are very welcoming. The tickets have been booked; we have a full flight headed to Tulsa and the pilot just turned the seat belt sign on so buckle up and prepare for take-off!


Our final destination is Tulsa, Oklahoma. The duration of this flight will be 45 days until NJSS. Remember to pack your aviators and flight suits for this adventure, we hope you enjoy your flight with us!

DNA Policy as of May 1, 2017

GeneSeek lab is the designated Lab for the ASA. However, AgriGenomics lab may be used as an alternative for testing Shorthorn genetic conditions only.

Testing results will only be accepted for the ASA registry from these 2 labs. A completed and signed order form must accompany the DNA samples submitted in order for testing results to be eligible for entry into the ASA registry. The ASA re-negotiated to reduce the bundle price for TH, PHA and DS with GeneSeek, and is now competitive with AgriGenomics. However, GeneSeek is unable to match the turnaround time for the 3 genetic condition tests.

Therefore, AgriGenomics may be used as an alternative lab only for genetic condition testing; this gives breeders an option when in need of a faster turnaround time. AgriGenomics is an alternative option for the ASA for testing the 3 genetic conditions, TH, PHA, and DS only. AGRIGENOMICS IS NOT CAPABLE OF DOING ANY PARENTAGE OR GENOMIC TESTS. The Shorthorn order form on the AgriGenomics website must be signed and completed when sending in samples. Test results will be sent by the lab to the ASA for entry into the registry. The ASA will charge a $3.00 fee per head to the breeder in order to manually enter AgriGenomics test results in the registry.

Anyone needing AI Sire and/or Donor Dam qualifications (parentage plus TH, PHA, and DS) will need to send their DNA to the ASA office with a completed and signed ASA order form. There is a special price for this package. GeneSeek lab test results are sent to the ASA in a compatible downloadable format therefore there is no additional fee for entering the test results from GeneSeek in the registry. All other tests, including Genomic testing must be sent to the ASA office for testing at the GeneSeek lab. (ASA DNA order form for GeneSeek lab and explanation of tests can be found on the ASA webpage under Forms, select DNA then DNA Genetic Testing.)

Welcome the 2017 ASA Interns!

Leah Giess is a sophomore at Kansas State University studying Agricultural Communications and Journalism. She has deep roots in the cattle industry growing up on a purebred cow/calf operation in central Minnesota. The exclusively family operated ranch has grown to become a nationally known source of quality purebred South Devon and Poundmaker genetics. Over the years she has worked to develop her own herd as well as helping with all aspects of the family’s cattle operations. She has been heavily involved in showing cattle and competing nationally in speech, quiz bowl, livestock judging and marketing at the NCBA Youth competitions. Leah recently participated on a study abroad trip to Ireland and interned with the Minnesota Beef Expo. She has been active in the North American South Devon Association for the past 15 years holding numerous board positions and also represented the breed as the Junior Ambassador. She is a member of K-State Block & Bridle, Collegiate Cattlemen’s, Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow and is a National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and Minnesota State Cattlemen’s Association member. We are excited to have Leah on the team for the summer as the communications intern!


Emily Albert is a junior at Oklahoma State University majoring in Animal Science and Agricultural Communications. She started in production agriculture at a young age exhibiting livestock through her local 4-H and FFA chapter in Weatherford, Texas. She said she was very fortunate to be an active FFA member on a local and state level. These organizations ignited her passion for agriculture and the livestock industry. Throughout her college career she served as a Block & Bridle and Swine Club officer, as well as Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow, and Alpha Zeta. After college, she would like to pursue a career in the livestock industry, communicating our story to the public. She is very honored to be able to work with the ASA this summer as the youth activities intern and hopes to learn the “ins and outs” of what a breed association does on a day to day basis and how she can help the Shorthorn breed reach new levels.


Emma Penzenstadler is from the Northern state of Minnesota where she calls Chisago City her home. She is currently finishing up her third year at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities where she is majoring in Agricultural Communications and Marketing with a minor in animal science in hopes to work in the event management industry. She is excited to be back in the states and interning as the registrations intern with the American Shorthorn Association after spending the last several months living in Sydney, Australia. She is most excited to work along professionals in the beef industry and to see what a day to day role is like in a breed association. Emma’s livestock background consists of helping her parents on her family’s farm where they raise Purebred Hereford Cattle and show pigs. Along with previously serving as the Minnesota 4-H Livestock Coordinator at the Minnesota State Fair and the Auction Coordinator for the Chisago County Fair.




We are excited to have these three ladies in the ASA office starting in May to help with National Junior Shorthorn Show & Youth Conference.

Spring 2017 EPDs Available!

The Spring 2017 genetic evaluation is now available, including the first genomically-enhanced EPDs in the Shorthorn breed. The GE-EPDs will include Birth Weight, Weaning Weight, Yearling Weight, and Carcass Weight. Also, the new Stayability EPDs are now available.

The GE-EPDs are calculated using technology known as the blended method. Also known as the two-step method, the genetic evaluation is run the same way as it has always been calculated. Then, any animals with genomic information available have that information incorporated into the EPDs. While some change in EPD value is possible, the noticeable difference will be increased accuracies for animals with GE-EPDs. Young animals with low accuracies see the largest increase, while older, higher accuracy sires and dams will not see much (if any)change.

IGS developed the Stayability EPD as a tool to identify animals with genetic potential to produce daughters that stay in the herd longer. Stayability is abbreviated ST in the online registry, and it is part of the IGS multi-breed evaluation and can be compared to ST EPDs in other IGS partner breeds. Stayability is the probability of an animal’s daughters staying in the herd until six years of age. The ST EPD is expressed as a percentage. When comparing two bulls, if bull A has a ST EPD of +7, while bull B has a ST EPD of +2, you would expect 5 percent more daughters of bull A to stay in the herd to the age of six.

The ST EPD is calculated using a method known as the single step method and BOLT software. The new software will combine pedigree, phenotypic data, and available genomic information into the genetic evaluation simultaneously. In the future, IGS will be using BOLT to calculate all EPDs. For ST EPDs, a cow’s lifetime calving records are important to collect as we continue to build the database. If you have any questions on GE-EPDs or ST EPD, please contact Matt Woolfolk at ASA,


Fescue Management

Written by: Patrick Wall, Area Beef Field Specialist – SE Iowa, Marion County, Extension Office

It appears the recent attention to fescue grass at the ASA Annual Meeting has a few folks discussing the issue. That’s good. However, it’s probably necessary to attack the topic from all angles; the most successful ‘fescue farmers’ are doing that anyway. There are far more ways to deal with the grass than to find your cows a new zip code or disperse the herd for more tolerant genetics. We’ll start at the beginning.


If you, like me, are not a trained forage agronomist, fescue grass can be difficult to identify. I would encourage you to look at color photos online or pick up a forage identification book. Many Extension offices have these on hand. The simplest way to identify the grass is to grab a leaf by the tip and run your fingers along the edges downward towards the base of the leaf. If it feels like a serrated knife, it is likely tall fescue. The kind or species of fescue plant is much more difficult to spot with the naked eye.


There are actually 3 main types of fescue that plant breeders and forage companies have developed over the years: 1.) Endophyte-free varieties, also known as non-toxic fescue, are not detrimental to cattle, but they are also less hearty and tolerant to grazing pressure. These varieties are not persistent in the south.  As you move north, with shorter summers and less pressure from disease, insects, drought, and with deeper soils, they can persist better. If producers want this grass to survive long-term, it should not be overgrazed. 2.) Novel-endophyte varieties were developed by inserting different endophyte strains in to the fescue plant, but since endophytes occur naturally, it’s not a GMO grass! These grasses are more tolerant and aggressive, but also more expensive. 3.) Endophyte-infected varieties are what we most commonly see in pastures…and in road ditches, construction sites, etc. The grass establishes quickly, holds soil well, and persists in a drought, plus the seed is cheap. Many folks refer to this grass as “Kentucky 31,” though several varieties exist.


If you have planted fescue on your farm and are unsure what variety was seeded down, try to find out. The proper management for each type of grass is slightly different. Many pastures thick with toxic tall fescue were never seeded down to the grass by any farmer. Birds, deer and other animals carried the seed in from road ditches and other farms. Other cattle producers may have purchased toxic tall fescue hay and fed it on the pasture, or the cows seeded it down via feces when they were turned out. As a result, many farmers or ranchers don’t know they have the toxic grass; the fescue spread through the pasture over a number of years.


As you move north in the United States, the success of fescue grass dwindles. The old toxic fescue performs well across a wide band of eastern and Midwestern states, and novel varieties also do well unless they are overgrazed.  Given the cost of the seed, overgrazing can be a very expensive mistake. The endophyte-free varieties can thin out from overgrazing, drought, and pests. The further south you go, the less persistent they are because of the long summers and constant pressure from insects and diseases. The novel varieties do a bit better than endophyte-free ones.


More recently, producers have tried to effectively eradicate the toxic grass and replace it with a better variety for their cows. One of the more popular methods is referred to as “Spray-Smother-Spray.” In other words, use chemicals to kill everything including the toxic fescue, plant a smother crop like sorghum-sudan grass, then spray the pasture again to kill any remaining toxic fescue that remained in the seed bank. Weather can make this pretty challenging, there’s an obvious loss in production, and fence rows, steep terrain, and tree groves make it nearly impossible to achieve an adequate kill in some areas. Long story short, toxic tall fescue is likely here to stay.


It is important to note that not all toxic tall fescue has the same level of “infection.” Some fields may have less endophyte than others. The endophyte itself actually helps the plant survive and produces the alkaloids (toxins) that harm the cow. The part of the plant is crucial as well; less endophyte exists in the leaves, much more in the seed head and the stems at the base of the plant. Consequently, mowing the seed head off or keeping the plant in a vegetative state has proven effective in spring pastures. Forcing cows to eat mature fescue plants (in a drought situation or overgrazing) is often when we see problems like missing tail switches, poor reproductive performance, or “fescue foot,” where the feet actually die or freeze off from poor blood circulation.  Ranchers can test their grass or hay for the alkaloid “ergovaline” to get an idea of the toxicity level. Making hay from toxic tall fescue reduces the toxin level by half as sun curing lowers toxin levels.


Inter-seeding legumes like clovers and trefoil has proven effective at diluting tall fescue, offering a better ‘salad’ to the cows consuming forage. It works best if the fescue is grazed down tight or hayed in order to open up the canopy and allow sunlight to help the legumes grow. Remember, legumes produce their own nitrogen, which can reduce fertilizer needs. One common mistake producers make is applying heavy “N” fertilizer to pastures with toxic tall fescue. The fescue grass loves nitrogen and will grow at an alarming rate, smothering out other grasses and legumes in the mix. Nitrogen also feeds the toxins. Good intentions for pasture renovation often have the opposite effect in this scenario.


Rotational grazing can be an effective management tool as well, keeping tall fescue in a vegetative state where cows are just asked to consume the leaf material. If the pasture has been renovated with novel or endophyte-free fescue, allowing ample recovery time will extend the life of the more desirable varieties. Again, if stocking rates are increased and/or drought conditions persist, some of the desired varieties will not likely survive the challenge. Some producers have found that over-stocking pastures during heavy spring growth then relaxing the stocking rate through the summer helps take advantage of the growth pattern of the grass and limits the toxicity level. Many herds will turn stocker cattle on to fescue grass or even wean them later off the cow when grass growth slows in early summer. Obviously, this only works in a fall calving scenario where winter conditions are tolerable or supplemental feed can be offered to meet the animals’ requirements. The increase in popularity of fall calving is a direct result of producers learning to manage toxic tall fescue.


Another successful management tool with toxic fescue grass is stockpiling for winter grazing. If the producer can prevent the grass from producing a seed head, he/she can also take advantage of the substantial fall growth offered by the plant. The toxin levels increase through the early fall, so grazing can be delayed until late winter, when the toxin levels drop again. Keep in mind, when temperatures plummet in the winter months, poor blood circulation to the extremities can have severe consequences. Producers should test winter forages for nutritional levels and presence of toxins. Remember, you’re not spending all that money to cut, rake, bale, transport, and deliver hay to the cows. They do the baling for you and place the nutrients right back on the ground where you need them. Tall fescue does an amazing job of holding protein and feed value in stockpiled form, often exceeding the nutrient requirements of a gestating cow. If the grass is held under a snow pack, it can be tremendous winter feed. Cows can bury their heads in over a foot of snow to consume forage…and gain weight doing it!


Now, on to the cow. Regardless of breed or genetics, producers can do several things to help their herd thrive in a fescue environment. 1.) Acclimation – Cows that are accustomed to toxic fescue, on average, simply do better on the grass…and so do the calves they produce. That’s not to say that cows naïve to the grass cannot adjust, they can. The longer we give them to adjust before the challenges of lactation and rebreeding begin, the better. Much of the drive for the research discussed at the ASA Annual Meeting was to see if genomics can help us identify which cows do it better, regardless of their zip code. 2.) Supplementation – As the word implies, offering cows some better feed in addition to the fescue diet can help. Of course, added labor and feed costs make this a less desirable option for many producers. However, increased conception rates, tighter subsequent calving intervals, heavier weaning weights, and fewer health problems can help offset the added expense. Some commercial minerals also offer additives that can help cows maintain their body temperature and overall immune function. Be sure to follow label instructions enforced by the new Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) and consult your veterinarian if necessary. 3.) Shade – This may seem quite simple, but allowing a cow to cool her body temperature can help immensely with performance, displaying estrus, first service conception, etc. Adequate water supply can be beneficial as well; any calories a cow burns walking to water are calories she cannot put in to her calf. Likewise, a good blade of grass that’s too far from water likely won’t get consumed.


There are a number of other successful management strategies for toxic tall fescue not described in the article. I would strongly encourage producers to read up on the subject even if you don’t live in the Fescue Belt. I have included a number of resources for you to study at your leisure.

New Director of Performance Programs

KANSAS CITY, Missouri (February 9, 2016) – The American Shorthorn Association hired Matt Woolfolk as the director of performance programs.

Woolfolk graduated from Mississippi State University in 2012 with a bachelor of science degree in animal science and a minor in agribusiness. He was involved at MSU with block and bridle and collegiate cattleman. After graduating he attended Texas A&M University to obtain a Master’s in Animal Breeding.

Originally from Jackson, Tennessee, his family focused on raising registered Hereford cattle and Bermudagrass hay. Woolfolk’s family was active in the Hereford breed on the state and national level. He served on the National Junior Hereford Association Board of Directors from 2010-2013 and was the chairman in 2011-2012.

Since August 2014, Woolfolk worked for Beefmaster Breeders United (BBU) as a field representative, as well as the director of commercial marketing. He worked with BBU members visiting their operations, assisting with marketing, selection and management decisions, attending sales and industry events, and providing other services. He also was the coordinator of the Junior Beefmaster Breeders Association junior program.

“I am excited to join the American Shorthorn Association team,” Woolfolk said.” It’s a great time to be involved in the Shorthorn business, and I believe the trend will continue. I look forward to working with the membership and continuing to provide the outstanding service they have come to expect from ASA.”

Woolfolk with also assist with junior activities and shows as well as being the director of performance programs.


The American Shorthorn Association Annual Meeting and Forum was Saturday, December 3, 2016 at the Argosy Hotel and Casino in Kansas City, Missouri.

During the Annual Meeting the membership voted to elect three new board of director members. The membership re-elected Rick Leone of Fowler, Colorado; Robert Alden of Hamilton, Missouri; and Tom Turner of Somerset, Ohio to serve on the ASA board of directors for an additional three years.

The new officers were elected: Mark Gordon – President, Jim Freed – Vice President and Ed Kruse – Executive Director.

Former ASA President Passes

William Arthur Masterson, age 69, of Guthrie, Texas; May 10, 1947- September 27, 2016. Life happens along that dash, between those dates. William Masterson, known as “Bill”, was a man who was loved by many and truly loved life. This was evident by his infectious smile, silly jokes and boisterous laughter.

Bill grew up in Guthrie, Texas, on the JY Ranch. He graduated from Texas Tech University in 1969 with a BS in Animal Science; he continued to support the university long after his graduation, serving as a beef coach, board member of the Range and Wildlife Management division and scholarship donor for the Red Raider Club. Bill served as president of the American Shorthorn Association, secretary of the Masterson Management Corporation, and the board of directors for the National Cattlemen’s Association, Brazos River Authority, King County Tax Appraisal District, First National Bank of Paducah, and the Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association. He also received his Texas State Honorary FFA degree in addition to breeding and showing many outstanding cutting horses.

He lived most of his life on the JY Ranch with his horses, cattle, welsh corgi dogs and family. He loved to hunt, fish and play golf. His nine grandchildren called him “Papaw” and he spoiled them with his favorite things: donuts, Blue Bell ice cream, birthday parties, jolly ranchers and Jujy fruits. Bill lived out his love of God best by his stewardship of land and his love for people. He rarely met a stranger and was a great friend to many, who will no doubt miss receiving his telephone calls.

Bill left this earth surrounded by his four loving children; Scotta Knight and husband Tadd, Robert Masterson and wife Wendy, Lisa Russell, and Laurie Bryson and husband Caleb; grandchildren, Kristen and Cameron Knight, Hadley Ray, Mattie Masterson, Alex Masterson, Sidney and Ben Russell, and Grace and Evie Bryson and many close friends he considered family. We will all get through the loss of this larger than life man by the words he told us often, “One Day at a Time”.

In lieu of customary remembrances, the family requests memorials to theBill Masterson Educational Scholarship Fund at Western Bank, 5701 82nd Street, Lubbock, Texas 79424, or call 806.798.9700.

From Tragedy to Triumph

by Paige Crawford

Writer’s note: Although the accident happened more than three years ago, it has hurt too much for the family to talk about until now. I feel like the Bedwell family’s story needs to be shared.


2012 was supposed to be the year Bedwell Cattle Co., exhibited the champion Shorthorn heifer at the Oklahoma Youth Expo. It was not. Jennifer Bedwell placed second in her class, and the title was given to someone else. Instead, 2012 was the year her world turned upside down.

Bedwell Cattle Co., a family-owned cattle operation in Isabella, Oklahoma, is home to about 25 head of purebred cattle.

Jeff Bedwell is a seasoned cattle judge. He and his wife, Diane, raised their three children – Jared, Justin and Jennifer – in the livestock industry.

“From being a young girl and watching my brothers succeed so much as they grew up, I knew it was an industry I wanted to be a part of forever,” Jennifer Bedwell said. “It is all I have ever really known, and I would not have it any other way.”

Jared and Justin were both active members of the Fairview FFA Chapter. Jared had a love for club cattle, while Justin took a different approach and found his passion in horticulture, Jennifer said.

Jared received his associate’s degree from Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College in Miami, Okla., and his bachelor’s degree in animal science from Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Okla., in 2009. Upon graduation, Jared moved to Clarion, Iowa, and began working for Cyclone Trace Cattle Co.

“Jared put himself through college by buying and selling cattle,” Jennifer said. “He was dang good at what he did. I think he could sell a goat turd to someone.”

Justin attended college at Connors State College in Warner, Okla., where he was a member of the livestock judging team in 2009. After one semester, Justin entered the workforce and began a job at Farmers Elevator Co., in Ames, Okla.

“School just wasn’t Justin’s thing, but he had this personality, which made everyone he came into contact with feel special,” Jennifer said.

On October 5, 2012, Jennifer was preparing to exhibit her Shorthorn heifer at the Tulsa State Fair. Jeff and Diane had taxied Jennifer to Tulsa, while Jared was en route to Oklahoma with a trailer full of cattle and a truck full of cattle jocks to help his baby sister.

Justin was just getting off work at his new job as an agronomist and fertilizer rig operator at the Great Plains Co-Op in Lahoma, Okla., and was planning his trip to Tulsa to help and watch Jennifer show.

The Bedwell Family was eating dinner when Diane’s boss called saying the fire department had contacted her and the family had cattle in the road, Jennifer said.

They began calling Justin because it was his responsibility to tend the cattle to avoid that situation.

“We were sitting there like ‘dang you, Justin,’” Jennifer said. “So, we started calling him and the sheriff’s department.”

At the time, the family did not realize Diane’s phone had been tracked and the Garfield County Sheriff’s Department was sending someone to deliver them life-altering news.

Jennifer looked up and saw her agricultural education instructor and an Oklahoma Highway Patrolman walking through the door.

“I did not think anything of it,” Jennifer said. “I was like, ‘Hey, I did not know y’all were staying here.’

“That was when my agricultural education instructor took me to the side and told me what happened, while the patrolman told my parents,” she said.

On October 5, 2012, Justin Bedwell was killed on impact in a car accident near Ringwood, Okla., when a negligent driver ran a stop sign and struck his vehicle.

The following days after Justin’s passing were a blur, Jennifer said. Two days after the accident, Jennifer mustered up the courage to return to Tulsa with her brother, agricultural education instructor, Vince McGolden, and best friend, Lindsay Pembrook, to show her heifer.

“I knew she was good enough, and I did not want someone else to show her,” Jennifer said.

“We hid out in the truck until it was time to show,” she said. “I showed the heifer, won reserve division champion, took a picture, handed her off, broke her down, and left the show barn.”

Jennifer rode back to Fairview with her brother while Vince and Lindsay took a separate vehicle.

“To this day, I am so glad we did that,” Jennifer said. “I have never had that good of a conversation with my older brother as I did that day, and I consider it one of my best memories with him.

“Jared had always looked out for me, but it was a little sister and big brother relationship,” Jennifer said. “After Justin’s accident, he wasn’t just my brother, but he became my best friend.”

Whenever the family had tension, all Justin wanted was for everyone to get along, Jennifer said. After his passing, the family realized how much they meant to each other and if they always sweat the small stuff, the big moments would not mean as much, she said.

The Bedwells did not have long to adjust to the new family dynamics.

On December 27, 2012, Jared Bedwell was killed in a single-vehicle accident after he hit a patch of ice and lost control. This tragedy struck the family less than three months after Justin’s passing.

“We did not bounce back quite so fast after Jared’s accident,” Jennifer said. “Mom and Dad did not return to work, and I did not return to school for a while.”

After Jared’s passing, Jennifer realized how deep his love was for his baby sister.

Jared wanted Jennifer to be successful and live her life to the fullest, and he did not agree with her choice to attend a junior college after she graduated high school, Jennifer said. He wanted her to attend Oklahoma State University from the start, but he knew funds were not available to put her through four years there, Jennifer said.

Before his accident, Jared set up a bank account to help pay for Jennifer’s schooling. After he passed, the vast majority of his life insurance policy went into it, Jennifer said.

“We were blessed with three of the most amazing human beings as children,” Diane said, “even if just for a short time.”

The Bedwell Family traveled to its first show without Justin and Jared a month after Jared’s passing in an attempt to honor their memory and regain any chance of normalcy, Jennifer said.

“Being there sucked,” Jennifer said, “but we were fortunate because my brother’s friends have become our family.”

One of Jared’s best friends, Jacob Hudlow, has not missed a show, graduation, birthday, or family event, Jennifer said.

“The crew at Cyclone Trace Cattle Co., did everything they could to support us after we lost the boys,” Jennifer said. “If we would not have had them, there is no way I would have shown cattle my senior year, and there is no way we would be as successful as we are right now.”

The Bedwells received support from friends and family all over the country, even some people they did not know, and the prayers of those people still help them to continue, Diane said.

After the passing of Justin and Jared, Jeff Bedwell emerged back on the radar as a popular cattle judge across the United States, Jennifer said.

His schedule became full, and Jennifer said she began to see the passion he had for the cattle industry come alive again.

“I do not think my dad would have the opportunities he has been given if it were not for my brothers passing,” Jennifer said. “I have so much respect for him for doing that. It is hard to get back into it and allow yourself to be that happy again.”

During Jennifer’s senior year of high school, Diane returned to work. She eventually opened an embroidery shop in Fairview.

“I have not seen my mom this happy in a long, long time,” Jennifer said.

Diane said she never thought she would survive the loss of a child, much less two.

“But by the grace of God, I am still here, and I am a better person,” Diane said.

If Jennifer sat around and felt sorry for herself, which she said she does sometimes, and let the opportunity to attend OSU go by, it would be a dishonor to her brothers’ memory and what they wanted for her, she said.

“The hardest part is the passage of time and knowing that life goes on without the people you care about,” Jennifer said. “But at the same time, you have to think about what those people would want for you.

“Our biggest fear is 10 years from now, nobody is going to remember Justin and Jared Bedwell,” Jennifer said. “That is why we talk about them, I write my blog, and we present the memorial scholarships.”

The Fairview FFA Chapter, American Junior Shorthorn Association and Oklahoma Junior Cattlemen’s Association all have separate scholarships or contests in memory of Jared and Justin.

Jacki Herrel, a family friend to the Bedwells, said Jeff, Diane and their children have always been a staple in her family’s life when it came to weddings, birthdays, and the birth of her children. Holidays have since been added to the list.

“My family aids as a distraction for Jeff and Diane,” Jacki said. “We love them so much and consider them our family.

“The livestock industry loves the Bedwells and loved on them when tragedy stuck,” Jacki said. “The Bedwell Family is the salt of the earth.”

With the support the Bedwells have received throughout the past three years, new opportunities arose to them.

Jennifer received the honors of Reserve Grand Champion Female at the 2016 National Western Stock Show in Denver, and exhibited the Grand Champion Female at the 2016 Fort Worth Stock Show in Fort Worth.

“It was a bittersweet win,” Jennifer said. “I wanted my brothers there badly, but so did everyone else around me. Being able to achieve a goal without them there was hard, but it was comforting to be surrounded by the people who love my family.”

Diane said although she and Jeff miss the boys so much it “actually hurts,” they look forward to their future and cannot wait to see what Jennifer does with her life.

Jennifer said the number of people her brothers impacted and the legacies they left behind make it difficult for sadness to overcome her.

“I am 20 years old now, and at 21, Justin meant the world to so many people, Jennifer said. “At 25, Jared had made his mark on the cattle industry and continues to do so,” she said. “If I can accomplish that much by the time I am their age, I will be pretty happy with the legacy I left behind.

“So, no, my brothers did not leave wives or children behind, but they left so much more – legacies we will remember forever,” Jennifer said. “I want to live a life in a way that, if I were to pass, I will have a packed church on the day of my funeral like they did.”