Introducing our 2017 Arizona Beef Ambassadors

Youth have a unique voice when it comes to sharing the positive story about the beef industry and the 2017 Arizona Beef Ambassador contest focused on finding the new voice for Arizona. These individuals have the opportunity to interact with consumers on multiple levels where there is a growing desire to understand where and how food is produced. This program gives youth a chance to learn how to have conversations with consumers about beef producers who take care of the land and utilize it in an environmentally friendly and efficient way to create a healthy and nutritious protein source.

The contest was open to youth ages 14 to 20. The Arizona Beef Ambassador Contest provides participating youth with the skills and information needed to educate consumers and fellow students about beef nutrition, food safety and stewardship practices of the beef community. Contestants competed in four categories including Consumer Promotion, Media Interview, Issues Response and a Youth Classroom Presentation.

Kailee Zimmerman and Connor Sawyer will serve as co-junior beef ambassadors.  Zimmerman is an active member of the 2T Ranch Show Team where she has exhibited steers and swine around Arizona, the Maricopa County Fair Junior Fair Board and is president of her church youth group.  She has a passion for promoting American agriculture, especially the beef industry, and hopes to become an agricultural lawyer so she defend and advocate for this invaluable industry.  

Connor Sawyer is an active member of 4-H and FFA. In his free time, Connor enjoys working on the ranch his family helps to manage. He also raises show cattle and exhibits them at his county fair and on the Southern Arizona International Livestock Association (SAILA) circuit. One day he hopes to carry on the family tradition of being a fifth generation cattle rancher. 

Tristen Gillespie from Pinal County won the senior division. Tristen has been actively involved in many aspects of agriculture since he was a young boy. Gillespie has shown goats, sheep and pigs in the Pinal County Fair in addition to numerous market steers. He brings a diverse set of experiences to his professional toolbox, having worked on a pecan farm, at a tack and feed store, and at numerous dairies around Pinal County. Tristen is attending Central Arizona College and is pursuing a career in Agricultural Education. As the senior ambassador, Tristen will assist in promoting beef with Arizona consumers by sharing his personal experiences and will also receive a $1,500 scholarship at the completion of his year of service. 

For more about the Arizona Beef Ambassador Contest and past winners, visit here. >>>