• 81°

Pike County Cattlemen’s

Association named No. 1 in state

By JAINE TREADWELL

The Pike County Cattlemen’s Association has been named the number one county cattlemen’s association in the state and the large turnout for the annual Cattlemen’s supper Monday night was part of the reason why.

Outgoing President James O. Johnson said the support the association receives from its men and women is second to none. Johnson praised the Cattlemen and Cattlewomen for their untiring efforts to promote the beef industry and to support agriculture in Pike County. Johnson also said the Cattlemen and Cattlewomen are strong, longtime supporters of the young people of Pike County and of programs that benefit them.

The annual supper and business meeting attracted about 300 members and guests, including Sen. Wendell Mitchell who presented the Cattlemen a check for $25,000 in support of the proposed Cattleman’s Park which will double as an arena and convention center for Pike County.

In making the presentation, Mitchell told the gathering that the park will be an asset to all Pike Countians and a boost to the local economy.

"We want to help you make this facility become a reality for Pike County," Mitchell said.

The estimated cost of the Cattleman’s Park and Convention Center is about $1.3 million. Pledges of more than $200,000 have been made.

"Once we break ground, we believe more people will lend us financial support," Johnson said. "This park is going to mean big things for Pike County. It’s going to make it possible for us to offer family entertainment right here at home and it will bring people to Pike County. We need it and we are going to work hard to get it up and going."

Horace Horn, director USDA Rural Development, also brought good news to the Cattlemen.

Horn said although the funding wheels grind slowly, he is optimistic of rural development funding for the project. Horn said the Cattlemen should qualify for a $400,000 low interest loan through Rural Development. The loan will make it possible for the Cattlemen to put the shovel in the ground and get the Cattleman’s Park underway.

Horn said a $15,000 grant is also in the works.

"We’ve signed off on the project and sent it to Washington for approval," Horn said. "We are excited about your project and we’ve already seen several projects funded and none are as good as what you’re doing for the near future and the long term."

Other good news was spread around for the Cattlemen to enjoy. Fully cooked beef products are on the market and are just what is needed in the rush-rush world. The beef is ready to serve in seven minutes, making it an ideal choice for quick meals that are often the order of the day.

Beef has also been favorably compared to chicken as a heart-healthy meat which comes as good news for a population that is increasingly interested in and concerned with healthy eating.

The Cattlewomen also took the opportunity of the annual meeting to present three scholarships to deserving young people. Donna Renfroe, Matt Wilson and Trey Lee all received $500 Winnie Lee Memorial Scholarships to assist with their education. Winnie Lee and her husband Hal were active with the Pike County Cattlewomen and Cattlemen associations.

"No one has ever been more actively involved with our Cattlewomen’s association or more interested in and supportive of local youth programs," said Laura Ross, president of the Pike County Cattlewomen. "We are proud to dedicate these scholarships in her memory. We are especially proud that one of our recipients this year is Winnie’s grandson Trey."

The scholarship recipients are all furthering their educations and directed toward their goals. Donna is attending radiology school in Montgomery and Matt and Trey are freshmen at Troy State University. Matt is pursuing a career in agriculture and Trey is studying to be a journalist.

To close the meeting, Johnson turned the gavel over to Mike Griffin, who will assume the duties of president of the Pike County Cattlemen’s Association in the year 2000. Ronnie Morgan will serve as vice president and Debbie Carpenter will serve as secretary and Jerry Vinson, as treasurer.

The Cattlemen and Cattlewomen always welcome new members and anyone who is interested in joining may learn more about the associations by calling the presidents of the associations or any member.