Wanted: New Beef Mascot. Reward: $1,000 | TSLN.com

Wanted: New Beef Mascot. Reward: $1,000

Youngsters involved in 4-H could doodle their way to an extra grand in their bank accounts.

"The beef industry needs a John Wayne, a Smokey The Bear, a Tony Tiger; we need a mascot that people will fall in love with and that children can relate to," said Bob Montross, DeSmet, South Dakota, cattleman and Beef Bucks founder. "When I babysit my grandkids and we watch cartoons together, they are fascinated by the characters in these shows. I think we are missing the boat on reaching these young kids and having a character they can get excited about. The beef industry is the greatest industry in the world, and we need a hero to tell our story."

From "Beef It's What's For Dinner" to "Where's The Beef?," the beef checkoff has cooked up some memorable catchphrases over the years to entice consumers to choose beef at the meat case. However, for Montross, there's one demographic that beef promotions have failed to reach — toddlers and young tykes.

In an effort to find that industry hero, Montross has launched a contest for 4-H youth, and he's hoping the state's 4-H members will help create a beef industry character that kids will fall in love with.

"I would love to see what our state's creative 4-H members can come up with," said Montross. "I'm not sure what I'm looking for, but I'll know it when I see it. We need a character we can market and turn into something big. I want a character that three-year olds and their parents will love."

The Beef Bucks Mascot Contest launched earlier this summer, but the contest has been extended to Dec. 15, 2016. Submissions should be sent to Hilary Rossow, 4-H Animal Projects Coordinator at hilary.rossow@sdstate.edu.

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The image cannot represent one specific breed of cattle, and the sole purpose must be in promoting the beef cattle industry. Drawings cannot contain any copyrighted images, and the mascot should be any two-dimensional character that best represents the beef business and the cowboy way of life.

The entries will be judged by the Beef Bucks board of directors and SDSU Extension. To sweeten the deal, Kim Ulmer, owner of Huron Continental Marketing, is offering a $1,000 prize to the best submission. The winning submission will become the property of Beef Bucks.

"There are almost 9,000 members enrolled in the state's 4-H program, and we're giving every 4-H member a chance to win $1,000 for creating the best sketch for our industry," said Ulmer. "When Bob told me about his idea to find a mascot for the beef industry, I thought it was a great idea, and I hope the prize money will help them achieve this goal while also developing our state's youth."

"We're looking for a new star for the American cattleman," said Montross. "I think we are missing a huge opportunity to reach these young kids and get them on board with who we are in the cattle business. Kids are our future, and they have a lot of pull with their parents.

Click here for more information on the Beef Bucks Mascot Contest.

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