Sixty years ago the wives of Angus breeders cast a pebble into the waters of the Angus community, forever changing the flow of history by founding the American Angus Auxiliary. Ripples from that pebble are still felt today.
Cindy Ahearn, current president of the organization, has felt those trickles herself. The auxiliary’s core purpose has remained the same throughout the years. It works to provide educational, promotional, and social programs and activities for the Angus breed.
Some of Ahearn’s work at the auxiliary involves maintaining traditions the original Angus women created. She works to uphold those traditions, but she also said originality and modernity are important.
“I was drawn to the auxiliary for their support of the breed and the education for the kids,” she said. “You try and move with the times without losing tradition. Tradition is the cornerstone. You can’t chip away at the cornerstone.”
Ahearn said she and her husband first discovered the Angus breed through diligent research. They realized from the beginning that Angus is a business breed.
“We bought a few Angus cows and haven’t looked back since,” she said.
They now operate Turner Meadow Ranch near Wills Point, Texas, home to 250 head of registered Black Angus. Soon after acquiring their first cattle, Ahearn and her daughter Megan immersed themselves in the Angus-breed community. Megan showed Angus cows throughout her time in FFA and 4-H. As she grew older her mother started becoming involved in Angus leadership at a state level.
Cindy Ahearn served as the president of the Texas Angus Auxiliary for a few years before she transitioned her focus to the national organization. It was then she began to ask herself who the women were who served before her.
“(I was) pitching in, learning the history,” she said. “There were a lot of people that went before me. Who were the cornerstones? Who were the ladies who had this vision to get this started?”
Ahearn has a title that holds weight in the Angus community. It allows her to both enjoy her Angus cattle and help others to find that same joy.
Megan Ahearn, now 28, is following in her mother’s footsteps. She has since 2001 attended almost every national show in the Angus industry. Along with that she served from 2011 to 2013 as chairwoman of the American Angus Association Foundation; she’s a current member of the American Angus Association. She’s the Miss Texas Angus committee chair for the Texas Angus Auxiliary.
The reason for her deep involvement and the root of her passion comes back full-circle, Ahern said – to her mother and what she learned from her.
“When I was growing up, I had women that had that drive and dedication,” Megan Ahearn said. “I think it’s only fair and right that I provide that for someone else that was in the position I was in 10 or 15 years ago.
“One of the big things in today’s culture, sometimes we feel we have to fit into these certain boxes as women. In my personal opinion that’s not what makes a woman. I have more respect for the woman who’s not afraid to break those confines. If you want to be the show mom and mostly work in the house, more power to you. That’s what great about the industry; you can do and be whatever you want.”
Cindy Ahearn echoes her daughter’s sentiments. She encourages women to follow their passions.
“There’s so many opportunities within the agricultural umbrella,” she said. “(Women) can find a spot where they can be passionate. They can be working in genetics, or publications and media. Don’t be afraid about being a woman. Minnie Lou Bradley, she was the first president of the American Angus Association. She was the very first woman in the 1950s to be on the livestock-judging team at Oklahoma State University, and she won it. She has been a pioneer for women, for many, many women. The sky is the limit.”