Hansen earns 2021 NJAS Stockman Contest award through dedication, hard work

The future generation of the Business Breed gathered in Grand Island, Nebraska for the 2021 National Junior Angus Show (NJAS), which was hosted this past summer with much excitement from the junior members.

During the weeklong event, a range of youth festivities participation enters juniors in the Stockman Contest award. There are three different age divisions – junior, intermediate, and senior, made up of competing in the skill-a-thon, quizbowl, and livestock judging contests. The award is a true representation of a stockman in the making and holds a prestigious, well-respected presence among the junior association.

Carrington, North Dakota, Angus junior Molly Hansen stood with confidence as she learned her livestock knowledge first-hand by working side-by-side with her uncle, grandparents and parents, Jory and Missy Hansen through both the hardy winter seasons and the good days while managing their 150 head purebred Angus operation in North Dakota. Hansen had previously earned the Stockman Contest award as a junior in 2019 when the event was held in Louisville, Kentucky.

Molly Hansen is a two-time award winner of the Stockman Contest in the Junior division at the Angus Junior Nationals in 2019 and 2021. Photos courtesy Hansen family

“I was taken aback, but yet excited when they announced my name for the award,” Hansen says. “One of my biggest goals was to win the stockman award, and it just doesn’t seem like the type of contest you’d win twice.”

In chasing her goals, Hansen closely follows the famous Winston Churchill quote – “Success is never final and failure is never fatal. It’s the courage to continue that counts.”

Learning from industry, developing show skills

Hansen encourages and motivates other Angus junior members from North Dakota to attend the NJAS.

“I’ve been to every junior national show since I was old enough to be a member, except this past year,” Hansen says. “I’ve participated in extemporaneous speaking, quiz bowl, skill-a-thon, and this year in the cook off.”

Hansen is a driven individual with exciting future goals to someday play her card as a professional in the beef industry as a beef geneticist. But she wouldn't be where she is today without the help and support of her family, cheering her on all the way to the show ring and even the washrack. Left to right – Jory, Molly, Cally, and Missy Hansen.

Hansen enjoys being involved with her family’s seedstock operation, and assists in hosting their annual bull sale in April. From raising livestock the moment of dropping onto the ground to leading each head into the show ring, she takes great pride in her work and time invested into the beef industry.

“To me, it’s very important to learn these livestock skills at a young age and to be involved and have a hands-on approach in the industry,” Hansen outlines. “Whether it’s on my family’s operation or studying on my own, I’ve worked hard to learn this information and winning this award does mean a lot.”

Hansen has wishes and dreams of her own, to someday have her own cattle operation and understands the work it takes to keep the bottom line of a ranching operation a profitable business.

“I grew up around cattle,” Hansen explains. “With calving happening February through April in North Dakota, the days get to be hard and I’ve learned ranchers have to persevere through that.”

Passing on the knowledge

Hansen also has future endeavors of working toward being elected to the National Junior Angus board and someday, paving her way in the industry to play a prominent role improving livestock genetics.

“Someday, I want to work towards becoming a livestock geneticist,” Hansen shares with much ambition and determination. “I hope to do so by attending a good school and spending some time livestock judging at a junior college.”

Hansen knows outside of growing her knowledge she is also focused on growing her circle of connections to someday become a reliable source of support.

“A lot of the people I’ve grown up with are also involved in the association, forming more connections with people, the junior show is hosted in a new state each year, so traveling to new places also comes with new opportunities.”

Hansen passes on valuable knowledge to youth wanting to be involved in the NJAS from a very young age.

“Don’t get discouraged,” Hansen says. “Keep working hard, at the beginning it wasn’t always the easiest road, but everyday you learn something new.”

“Whatever organization it may be, 4-H or the junior Angus association, don’t be afraid to reach out to others and ask for their advice and have role models,” Hansen says.

Hansen is forever inspired by the dedication her parents are invested in helping their daughters grow up and learn the lifestyle of agriculture.

“My mom is also the ag teacher at our school, so I get to learn from her at school and at home,” Hansen continues. “Every day, it’s always a new day, and you can’t ever give up.”

The future is bold and bright for Hansen thanks to much determination and first-hand knowledge, but her foundational source of support and courage stems from her immediate family.

“I would like to thank my parents and my sister,” Hansen says with humble pride. “In competing in contests at a junior national show, you’re constantly gone from the stall, going to other sport practices, they are always there for me and I really can’t thank them enough for everything they’ve done for me.”

Hansen follows the famousWinston Churchill quote as inspiration when reaching her goals and dreams -“Success is never final and failure is never fatal. It’s the courage to continue that counts.”

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