Sixteen-year-old Shelby Lang of rural Buffalo Lake has had a busy summer. And not just because she's beef royalty.
She's up each morning at 6 a.m. to work with the family Angus cattle in her name. She walks the animals, washes them and gives about an hour to each animal.
"I try to get done by 10 o'clock," Lang said.
And then the rest of the day's duties begin. The responsibility is nothing new for the Hutchinson High School student, whose family has raised Angus cattle for 20 years after switching from a dairy operation. She's known the animals all her life. That's why, when helping to host a field day for the National Angus Association, learning there was such a thing as an Angus princess caught her attention.
"I decided, 'Oh, let's try this,'" she said. "I wanted to promote the beef industry and learn more names in the industry."
The National Junior Angus Association — junior members of the American Angus Association — has a state queen and princess. The queen is age 17-21, with the princess age 12-16. To be selected for 2021 princess from amongst other candidates, Lang submitted an essay about herself, self-improvement, and her interest in the association. She was also interviewed regarding her interest in promoting the industry, and tasked with giving a speech.
Now selected for the honor of Minnesota Angus Princess, Lang will be a constant presence at industry events, along with last year's princess. In addition to promoting the industry at field days and the Minnesota State Fair, she will hand out ribbons at the McLeod County Fair and attend the Beef Expo in downtown St. Paul this October. Such events are familiar to Lang, a member of the Lynn Hustlers 4-H Club and a participant in American Angus Association judging competitions.
She's especially eager to network with other Angus breeders.
"You get to learn the genetics they use, and the bulls they use, and how other farms work their cattle through," Lang said. "It's amazing how everyone has their own way to do things."
She hopes to remain part of the beef industry long term.
"Once you've worked with the animals, it becomes part of your passion," she said. "It's part of my lifestyle. If I didn't have my cattle I don't know what I'd do with my free time, to be honest. When you work with different animals you see they all have a unique personality."